Henry Aaron's Dreamby Matt Tavares
Before he was Hammerin’ Hank, Henry Aaron was a young boy grow ing up in Mobile, Alabama, with what seemed like a foolhardy dream: to be a big-league baseball player. He didn’t have a bat. He/b>
Matt Tavares hits one out of the park with this powerful tale of a kid from the segregated south who would become baseball’s home-run king.
Before he was Hammerin’ Hank, Henry Aaron was a young boy grow ing up in Mobile, Alabama, with what seemed like a foolhardy dream: to be a big-league baseball player. He didn’t have a bat. He didn’t have a ball. And there wasn’t a single black ball player in the major leagues. B ut none of this could stop Henry Aaron. In a captivating biography of Henr y Aaron’s young life – from his sandlot days through his time in the Negro Leagues to the day he played his first spring training game for the Braves – Matt Tavares offers an inspiring homage to one of baseball’s all-time greats.
Tavares's (Lady Liberty) engaging biography focuses on Aaron's early baseball-playing years-before he was nicknamed Hank as a major leaguer. Growing up in Mobile, Ala., in the 1940s, he honed his skills at a "colored only" ballpark and dreamed of playing in the big leagues, despite his father's admonition, "Ain't no colored ballplayers." The author underscores the inspiration Jackie Robinson provided Aaron as the younger player held on to his dream despite setbacks on the field and racial prejudice. Using near identical language, the lyrical yet hard-hitting narrative describes the players' parallel experiences ("Some white fans called Henry a 'nigger.' Some even sent him letters, threatening to kill him if he kept playing"). Close-up portraits of Aaron on and off the field dominate Tavares's watercolor, ink, and pencil art. In the book's most rewarding-and exciting-scene, Aaron, a rookie for the Milwaukee Braves, finally shares the field with his hero during an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, narrowly outrunning a throw from Robinson. A concluding note, with stats, tracks Aaron's later career. Ages 8-10. (Jan.)
Meet the Author
Matt Tavares is the illustrator of Iron Hans: A Grimms’ Fairy Tale; ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, or an Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas; Jack and the Beanstalk; Doreen Rappaport’s Lady Liberty: A Biography; and Kristin Kladstrup’s The Gingerbread Pirates, as well as the author-illustrator of Zachary’s Ball, Oliver ’s Game, and Mudball. He lives in Ogunquit, Maine.
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I had to read this book for a class and thought that it was informative without being boring, and really captured Hank's struggle in an age appropriate way :)