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Thank You, Jackie Robinson

Thank You, Jackie Robinson

5.0 1
by Barbara Cohen, John Steptoe (Illustrator), Richard Cuffari (Illustrator)

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After Sam's father died, he became so wrapped up in the Brooklyn Dodgers that he could describe every game they'd played in the past four years. Nobody was very interested, until Sam met Davy. They came from different races, religions, and generations. But it didn't take long before they had a friendship that went well beyond baseball.


After Sam's father died, he became so wrapped up in the Brooklyn Dodgers that he could describe every game they'd played in the past four years. Nobody was very interested, until Sam met Davy. They came from different races, religions, and generations. But it didn't take long before they had a friendship that went well beyond baseball.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.23(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Listen. When I was a kid, I was crazy. Nuttier than a fruitcake. Madder than a hatter. Out of my head. You see, I had this obsession. This hang-up. It was all that mattered to me.

I was in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

"So what's so funny about that?" you might say. "So I'm in love with the Boston Celtics." Or the Miami Dolphins. Or the Los Angeles Rams. Or the New York Rangers. Or the Chicago Black Hawks.

Take it from me, whatever it is you're in love with -- it's not the same thing. Suppose on May 18, 1947, you had asked me, "Who did the Dodgers play on August 4, 1945?" I would have answered, "The Braves."

But that's not all. I could go on. "They lost a doubleheader in Boston. But it wasn't a real double-header.

The first game took only twelve minutes -- it was the end of a game which had been suspended June 17 on account of the Sunday curfew and the Braves won 4-1.

"The Braves won the regular contest too, 1-0. Bill Lee pitched for the Braves, Vic Lombardi for the Dodgers. Maybe Lombardi did lose but he pitched a terrific game. It was that dumb umpire's fault he lost, anyway. What was his name, that dumb umpire? Oh, yeah -- George Magerkurth -- dumb George Magerkurth. Lombardi walked Dick Culler in the first. Phil,Masi came up next. Culler was suddenly trapped far off base, and the Braves' coach called, 'Balk.' Real fast, Lombardi threw the ball to Augie Galan at first base who threw it to Eddie Stanky at second. Magerkurth pointed to second base. Stanky and all the others thought this meant that hewas calling a balk. Culler trotted to second, Stanky didn't tag him, and then the dumb umpire said he hadn't called a balk! Stanky and Leo Durocher really blew their stacks, but Magerkurth didn't throw them out of the ball game. He must have. felt guilty about what he'd done. That proves he made a mistake, don't you think...? Culler advanced tothird on Masi's long fly to Dixie Walker and scored on Ducky Medwick's long hit, also to Dixie. That was the ball game, right there in the first inning, though no one knew it then..."

If you didn't stop me, I'd go on. I'd give you the whole game in just that way -- like a playback of Red Barber's broadcast over WHN. But it wasn't a playback. I wasn't secretly memorizing tapes up in my bedroom. There weren't any tapes. There weren't any tape recorders. All I had was every record book money could buy and a portable radio my rich aunt had given me for my birthday. Battery-operated, it was a great big thing that I used to lug with me everywhere during the season. Except to school. They wouldn't let me bring it to school. After all, it wasn't like I could hide it, the way kids can hide transistors today. You kids, you know how lucky you are? I used to have to miss the World Series. I had to read about it in the paper. Can you imagine that? I hope they feel sorry now, those teachers, for the way they messed me up.

Anyway, I could give you the whole game, play by play, for any day during the whole period I had been hooked on the Brooklyn Dodgers. Just like that. Without looking at any books or papers or anything. I remembered it, like you might remember Christmas day, 1973, when they gave you your own portable color TV. Or March 3, 1971, the day you finally beat up the big kid who'd stolen your pack of twelve different-colored magic markers.

I didn't remember those games because I had some kind of super memory or something. I couldn't remember if the Japanese had surrendered to the Americans on August 4, 1945. I couldn't remember if my grandmother had come to visit us that day. I couldn't remember if I'd had my favorite meal for supper. I couldn't remember anything that had actually happened to me. I could only remember those games.

That's not normal. That's sick. But that's how it was.

I didn't seem sick. I mean, I got promoted each June and played baseball in the schoolyard with the other guys. Of course, I was this real scrungy kid, about half the size of all the others, so I got picked last for the teams, but there was no malice in that and I didn't really mind. Not too much.

Only one guy ever really knew just how nuts I was. Since no one else really knew how much I loved the Brooklyn Dodgers, no one ever thought I was sick. No one ever took me to a psychiatrist, or anything like that. Not even to a regular doctor. Except once, in 1951, when the Dodgers got in a play-off with the Giants for the pennant, and I developed this tic. My left eye kept twitching all the time. My mother took, me to the doctor then and he asked what was I nervous about. My mother, who was a pretty shrewd number even though I didn't tell her much, said, "The National League pennant race," so the doctor gave me some belladonna and said to come back if I still had the twitch after the World Series. I didn't, so I never had to go back.

Eventually, I grew out of it of course. I mean, I'm much older now. I go about my business just like anybody else. I'm not locked up in some nut house or anything like that, so I must have grown out of it...Thank You, Jackie Robinson. Copyright © by Barbara Cohen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Barbara Cohen (1932-1992) was the author of several acclaimed picture books and novels for young readers, including The Carp in the Bathtub, Yussel's Prayer: A Yom Kippur Story, Thank You, Jackie Robinson, and King of the Seventh Grade.

John Steptoe was born in Brooklyn. From early childhood, he drew pictures and told stories with them. He started work on Stevie, his first picture book, when he was sixteen, and Stevie was published three years later to outstanding critical acclaim. Since then, he has written and illustrated many successful books for children.

John Lewis Steptoe, creator of award-winning picture books for children, was born in Brooklyn on September 14, 1950 and was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of that borough. He began drawing as a young child and received his formal art training at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. He was a student in the HARYOU-ACT Art Program and instructed by the highly recognized African American oil painter, Norman Lewis. He also studied at the Vermont Academy, where he was instructed by the sculptor, John Torres, and William Majors, a painter acclaimed by the Museum of Modem Art for his etchings and print-making.

His work first came to national attention in 1969 when his first book, Stevie, appeared in its entirety in Life magazine, hailed as "a new kind of book for black children." Mr. Steptoe, who had begun work on Stevie at the age of 16, was then 18 years old.

In his 20-year career, Mr. Steptoe illustrated 15 more picture books, ten of which he also wrote. The American Library Association named two of his books Caldecott Honor Books, a prestigious award for children's book illustration: The Story of Jumping Mouse in 1985 and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters in 1988. Mr. Steptoe twice received the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, for Mother Crocodile (text by Rosa Guy) in 1982, and for Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.

While all of Mr. Steptoe's work deals with aspects of the African American experience, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough. Based on an African tale recorded in the 19th century, it required Mr. Steptoe for the first time to research African history and culture, awakening his pride in his African ancestry. Mr. Steptoe hoped that his books would lead children, especially African American children, to feel pride in their origins and in who they are. "I am not an exception to the rule among my race of people," he said, accepting the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration, "I am the rule. By that I mean there are a great many others like me where I come from."

Mr. Steptoe frequently spoke to audiences of children and adults about his work. He was the 1989 winner of the Milner Award, voted by Atlanta schoolchildren for their favorite author.

John Steptoe died on August 28, 1989 at Saint Luke's Hospital in Manhattan, following a long illness. He was 38 years old and lived in Brooklyn. Mr. Steptoe was among the small handful of African American artists who have made a career in children's books.

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Thank You, Jackie Robinson 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
For all baseball fans it is an excellent book. At the end its sad but it is very exciting.