Children's Lit Book Reviews
Sunday, April 4, 2010
By: Peter Golenbrock
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Non Fiction
"Golenbock's prose is straightforward but full of drama and poignancy, qualities reflected in the quiet dignity of Lee's (The Good Luck Cat) spare, muted acrylic portraits, which transcend mere athleticism to capture the essential humanity of this compelling tale."
- Publishers Weekly
Summary:Hank Aaron was born on February 5, 1934 to Herbert and Estella Aaron. While his father desired that he gain great joy for baseball, his mother wanted the complete opposite and wanted him to have a college education so that he could make a difference in the world. During the Great Depression, Hank's father lost his job and struggled to make ends meet and supply what was required for his family. However, Herbert persevered and eventually moved his family to Mobile, AL, where he built them a house containing no luxuries, using wood from a old, fallen down house nearby. While, Hank was doing his schooling, he found himself drifting into a day dream filled with baseball fantasies. His goal was to become a major league baseball player, but he was constantly reminded, by even his father, that "colored" folk were not allowed in the major leagues. Hank Aaron remained persistent and pursued his dream as a professional baseball player. By Hank's 13th birthday, it was announced that Jackie Robinson, an African American baseball player, became the first to enter into the majors, and he instantly became a star. To entertain his mother, Hank remained diligent in his studies but still played baseball, even playing for a team called the Black Bears, mainly comprised of grown men. Eventually, with Hanks mother in agreement, Hank was offered a playing spot of a professional team named the Indianapolis Clowns. By 1954, Hank was asked to join the Milwaukee Braves and finally accomplished all that he had dreamed of by making the major leagues. Throughout his career, Hank remembered his father's determination and his mom's advice to be the very best that he could become, and he broke many major league records. By the end of 1972, Hank was only 41 hits away from overcoming Babe Ruth's homerun record. Hank found himself more determined than ever as he neared breaking the record because of the angry letters he was continually receiving. These letter were written because he was about to beat a white man's record. Each letter provided him with more encouragement to play his very best. By 1973, Hank had hit nearly 713 home runs and was only one homerun behind the great Babe Ruth. In, Atlanta, on the final day of the season, the fans provided him with what he always dreamed of, and that was respect. By the following season, even with death threats still coming, Hank hit home run number 714 and tied Babe. Finally, in the following game between Atlanta and the Dodgers, Hank hit the record setting 715th home run.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that all children of all ages would benefit from reading this book. There are many great lessons taught within this book such as determination and obedience. This is a book about overcoming the racist society at the time. This is a great educational tool for children, both boys and girls.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause? I don't think that this book has any problems or concerns that would prevent anyone from reading this great book.
My reaction: I loved this book. I am an avid baseball fan and remember my father taking me to baseball games growing up. Baseball is truly an American past time, and this book supports everything that America had to overcome in order for it to become the sport that it is today. I recommend this book to all parents and teachers. I will definitely be reading this book with my children.