Proving once again that “Ordinary People Change the World,” Brad Meltzer offers another fun and approachable biography for kids, this time spotlighting a baseball hero. I Am Jackie Robinson shows young readers what it means to be brave, and to pave the way for a better world.
There’s a reason Meltzer’s “Ordinary People Change the World” series has continued to land on the best-seller lists. He does a masterful job of telling complex, real-life stories in simple, inspiring ways for young readers. I Am Jackie Robinson does a good job of illustrating a tumultuous time in American history, and how one man helped paved the way for significant change.
At times, some aspects of Robinson’s life are glossed over and it feels like maybe I missed a paragraph (for example, one page begins, “By the time I got out of the army” … but we never learned he had BEEN in the Army) — but on the whole, Meltzer does a good job of telling a brief recap of Robinson’s life. The real focus is on how Robinson overcame the odds against him, and how he faced challenges to make — and change — history.
Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulas also did a nice job of weaving in some humor and charm — like how Robinson is always depicted wearing his Brooklyn Dodgers baseball hat, even as a baby and long before he joins the team. A running gag throughout the book is what the “B” on his hat stands for. (It’s very cute.)
Eliopoulas’s illustrations are also very charming — they remind me of a hybrid of Charles M. Schulz (“Peanuts”) and Bill Watterson (“Calvin & Hobbes”).
I Am Jackie Robinson is a great way for kids to learn about an American legend. It is in stores now. Here is the official synopsis:
This New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series by Brad Meltzer has an inspiring message: We can all be heroes.
Jackie Robinson always loved sports, especially baseball. But he lived at a time before the Civil Rights Movement, when the rules weren’t fair to African Americans. Even though Jackie was a great athlete, he wasn’t allowed on the best teams just because of the color of his skin. Jackie knew that sports were best when everyone, of every color, played together. He became the first black player in Major League Baseball, and his bravery changed African-American history and led the way to equality in all sports in America.
This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, providing them with the right role models, supplemementing Common Core learning in the classroom, and best of all, inspiring them to strive and dream.