Stealing Home

Stealing Home

by Ellen Schwartz
     
 

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It is 1947 and Yankee fever grips the Bronx. Nine-year-old Joey Sexton joins the neighborhood kids who flock to the park to team up and play. However, Joey is of mixed race and his skin is lighter than the other kids’. He is seldom picked.

When Joey’s mother dies, he is sent to live with his mother’s estranged family. Joey is whisked away to

Overview

It is 1947 and Yankee fever grips the Bronx. Nine-year-old Joey Sexton joins the neighborhood kids who flock to the park to team up and play. However, Joey is of mixed race and his skin is lighter than the other kids’. He is seldom picked.

When Joey’s mother dies, he is sent to live with his mother’s estranged family. Joey is whisked away to Brooklyn. Though it’s just across town, it might as well be a different world. His grandfather, his aunt Frieda, and his ten-year-old cousin Roberta are not only white, they are Jewish. Joey knows nothing about Brooklyn or Judaism. The only thing that’s constant is the baseball madness that grips the community. Only this time, the heroes aren’t Joey’s beloved Yankees. They are the Brooklyn Dodgers, especially Jackie Robinson, a man whose struggle to integrate baseball helped set the stage for black America’s struggle for acceptance and civil rights.

Joey’s story takes readers to a time when America’s favorite pastime became a battleground for human rights.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Excellent writing style propels the novel, making it almost impossible to put down. The novel has an immediate appeal to sports enthusiasts…but also fits well into various curriculum areas. Family relationships and challenges are well developed, with strong female characters, even though the novel is faithful to the reality of the era and culture. Stealing Home would make an excellent novel for classroom use and discussion.”
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Children's Literature
Recently orphaned, Joey Sexton has to move in with the grandfather, aunt, and cousin he has never met. Set during the time of Jackie Robinson, Joey is of a mixed race background and struggles to find a place in the world where neither race will accept him. When his social worker finds his next of kin, Joey moves to Dodger territory, resolving to stay true to his Yankees. His dark skin causes a lot of whispering in his new Jewish neighborhood, making Joey feel like he will never find a home. Joey is a realistic character, and many readers will relate to his struggles to fit in and build friendships. This book will also appeal to baseball lovers, as it takes place during a pivotal time in the history of the game. During such a time of harsh discriminations and mistreatment, baseball was something that everybody agreed on; it helped to bridge the gaps between people and cultures. Even if baseball is not of interest to the reader, the racial tension of the time alone will make this book a great read. 2006, Tundra Books, Ages 8 to 12.
—Erin Pelletier
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-There's just too much going on in this unevenly told, short novel. In 1947, Joey is a recently orphaned nine-year-old; his mother had a drug problem and her death leaves him on his own. He is of mixed race and knows little about his family. Then he learns that his African-American father is dead, but that he has relatives on his mother's side who live in nearby Brooklyn and are willing to take him in. Joey finds out that his mother was Jewish, and after she eloped, her family severed all ties with her. He has some trouble fitting into his new home, but gradually he finds a place. He enjoys learning about Jewish customs and finds a close companion in his cousin Bobbi, a fellow baseball fan. A Yankees aficionado, he can't help but be impressed with the Dodgers' star rookie, Jackie Robinson. Unfortunately, Joey is not a fully realized character and the supporting characters are one-dimensional. The plot follows an all-too-predictable course. Also, Schwartz writes that in the opening game of the 1947 World Series, Robinson stole home, then admits in an afterword that this is untrue. Even with this admission, baseball fans will find this distortion of the facts unacceptable: Robinson's achievements, both on and off the field need no elaboration. Steer young readers toward Dan Gutman's Jackie and Me (HarperCollins, 1999) for a readable and accurate story featuring Jackie Robinson.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780887767654
Publisher:
Tundra
Publication date:
05/09/2006
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,170,457
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.58(d)
Lexile:
630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Ellen Schwartz is the author of nonfiction for teens and numerous works of fiction. With Tundra she has published I’m a Vegetarian and I Love Yoga, and is also well-known for her critically acclaimed Starshine series, and her picture book, Mr. Belinsky’s Bagels. Ellen Schwartz lives with her family in Burnaby, British Columbia.

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