Professional Development

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Book Review: I am Jackie Robinson

With the World Series underway, Brad Meltzer's book I am Jackie Robinson is more relevant than ever. Champions @ Dugan Elementary site director Anne Leonardi gave this book a test run in her afterschool program. Read her review, below.

When asked to review I am Jackie Robinson, I thought, "Will youth enjoy a biography about Jackie Robinson? Will the book be relatable for first through fifth grades? What messages could be incorporated into weekly plans?"

I brought this colorful, lively book to the program, and our grade-five Ambassadors were thrilled to read it aloud to younger students during our group meeting. The story of an ordinary boy who changed the world in an extraordinary way caught the attention of every ear in the room!

Through I am Jackie Robinson, youth are encouraged by a regular kid who was able to "hit it out of the park." Messages of bravery, tolerance, self-worth, family, and confidence are conveyed by relatable text, humorous speech bubbles, and colorful illustrations. This story portrays an ordinary boy who succeeds against all odds with his mother's help, community role models, and drive to achieve. In a time when the color of his skin dictated the limits of his dreams, Jackie stood firmly at bat and kept on swinging.

I am Jackie Robinson was a homerun hit and is now a proud part of our program library. This story is more than just a good read for afterschool youth: Our afterschool students discussed personal goals, wrote acrostic poetry, created motivational posters, and wrote book reviews as enrichment activities. The book motivated them to discuss personal dreams, share ideas about bravery, and debate issues of social justice and tolerance, which will help develop them as the adults of tomorrow.


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