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  • 2006 Comstock Read Aloud Book Award

    Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg; illustrated by Colin Bootman, and published by Peachtree.

    Dad, Jackie, and MeA young baseball fan narrates this story about his father who suddenly has a keen interest in baseball because of Jackie Robinson playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The father who is deaf identifies with the prejudice and discrimination faced by Jackie Robinson. During the course of the 1947 baseball season, the father and son attend and listen to the games, learn everything about Jackie Robinson, and keep a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about this famous player. The father, who never had the opportunity to play baseball, also practices catching with his son. The climax of the story comes after Robinson catches a line drive at the end of the last game of the season and turns and throws the ball to the narrator’s father who is able to catch it in his bare hands. While the story revolves around the 1947 baseball season, the real strength of the book is the strong bond that develops between father and son.

    In the “Author’s Note,” Uhlberg explains that he attended Jackie Robinson’s games with his own father who was deaf. He came to understand the deep connection between his father and Jackie Robinson: “They were both men who worked to overcome thoughtless prejudice and to prove themselves every day of their lives.”

    Colin Bootman’s framed, watercolor illustrations detail the Brooklyn setting, Ebbets Field, and the Brooklyn Dodger games. Riveting close-ups show Jackie Robinson batting, running, and playing first base. The scrapbook-page endpapers of actual newspaper clippings reflect the scrapbook from the story.

    Nine-year-olds through twelve-year-olds listened intently to this book. They commented on the great illustrations and enjoyed learning more about Jackie Robinson. Teachers and parents noted that the story led to good discussions about disabilities and discrimination.

    Myron Uhlberg, who grew up in Brooklyn, now lives in Palm Springs, CA. Colin Bootman, originally from Trinidad, currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.