The Stone Thrower

The Stone Thrower

by Jael Ealey Richardson, Matt James
     
 

African-American football player Chuck Ealey grew up in a segregated neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio. Against all odds, he became an incredible quarterback. But despite his unbeaten record in high school and university, he would never play professional football in the United States.

Chuck Ealey grew up poor in a racially segregated community, but his mother

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Overview

African-American football player Chuck Ealey grew up in a segregated neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio. Against all odds, he became an incredible quarterback. But despite his unbeaten record in high school and university, he would never play professional football in the United States.

Chuck Ealey grew up poor in a racially segregated community, but his mother assured him that he wouldn’t stay in Portsmouth forever. Education was the way out, and a football scholarship was the way to pay for that education. So despite the racist taunts he faced at all the games he played in high school, Chuck maintained a remarkable level of dedication and determination. And when discrimination followed him to university and beyond, Chuck Ealey remained undefeated.

This inspirational story is told by Chuck Ealey’s daughter, author and educator Jael Richardson, with striking and powerful illustrations by award-winning illustrator Matt James.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/25/2016
Richardson, the daughter of African-American quarterback Chuck Ealey, explains that her father’s knack for football began with throwing stones at passing trains during his childhood in segregated Ohio in the 1950s and ’60. James’s smudgy artwork conveys the deprivations of Ealey’s youth through thick strokes of paint and images of barren streets and cupboards; on the football field, though, Ealey is a formidable presence in a blue uniform and gold helmet. Richardson focuses on Ealey’s upbringing and early athletic career, emphasizing the value of practice and determination. A closing note fills in subsequent details, explaining that Ealey was never able to play professional football in America due to racial bias (he instead joined the Canadian Football League). Ages 5–up. Author’s agent: Carly Watters, P.S. Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (May)
From the Publisher
"An excellent addition for sports fans and a great vehicle to spark conversation." - School Library Journal
School Library Journal
02/01/2016
K-Gr 3—Young Chuck and his mother live in a poor, segregated neighborhood in Portsmouth, OH, in the 1960s. Frustrated by his situation, Chuck begins throwing rocks at the passing train cars, learning how to hit specific letters on the train as it speeds by. Using this newfound focus and determination, he succeeds academically as well as physically, as he attempts to be the quarterback for his high school. Finishing with Chuck winning his first game and beating the odds, the book includes an afterword about the subject, Chuck Ealey. Ealey later went on to play football for the Canadian Football League, as the NFL was still heavily segregated. The volume brings home the message that hard work pays off and is one of the few picture books to mention segregation outside of the Southern states. Perhaps the book's greatest strength is James's beautiful artwork. His vivid mixed-media oil paintings are filled with texture and depth in each scene. His energetic brushstrokes and unblended colors show the desperation of young Chuck and the injustice of the segregated times. Some of the smaller images at the end of the book have clearly been painted on cardboard, their frayed edges purposefully showing, adding to the authenticity of the work. VERDICT An excellent addition for sports fans and a great vehicle to spark conversation.—Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
2016-03-02
An African-American football player is denied an American football career. Born in a segregated town in Ohio in 1950, Chuck Ealey, African-American, grew up to be a great football quarterback in Canada. His childhood was one of poverty and hunger, but Chuck found a pastime—throwing rocks at passing freight trains. His aim became so good that the school coach named him quarterback, a position that did not please his white opponents. Ealey's daughter, who previously wrote an adult biography of Ealey also called The Stone Thrower (2012), here pens an inspirational story about her father. Unfortunately, though the author does not shy away from the hardships of Ealey's youth, it is only in her brief afterword that readers learn that American football teams did not want an African-American in the glamorous position of quarterback, often considered the team's leadership spot. Ealey, despite stellar high school and college records, had to play in Canada. With sports biographies so focused on baseball players of color, it is a good thing to have a title about a football player, but it's too bad the information about his career after college is not in the story itself. James' pen, ink, and acrylic art on Masonite is richly saturated in color and captures each vignette in a lively fashion. An inspiring though incomplete story of adversity and discrimination. (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554987528
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
05/10/2016
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
5 Years

Meet the Author

Jael Ealey Richardson is the author of The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life, a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The book received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award. Excerpts from her first play, My Upside-Down Black Face, are published in the anthology T-Dot Griots. Richardson has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She lives in Brampton where she serves as the Artistic Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

Matt James is a noted painter, illustrator and musician. His books have won many awards, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (I Know Here, written by Laurel Croza) and the Governor-General’s Award for Children’s Illustration (Northwest Passage). Matt lives in Toronto.