Wednesday, January 6, 2016

More than Beautiful Art: Dad, Jackie, and Me by Myron Uhlberg and Colin Bootman

If you ever buy a picture book for the art, Dad, Jackie, and Me published in 2005 is a good candidate; however, this book is more than amazing art. This story is fiction, but the inspiration for the story came from author Myron Uhlberg's life. His father was deaf like the father in the story and together they followed Jackie Robinson's career. He said of his father, "In those days most people considered deaf children severely handicapped and thought teaching them sports a waste of time." (From the author's notes). His dad was unable to throw, catch, or hit a baseball.

The inside covers of the books are filled with photographs and real news articles about Jackie Robinson. Inside the book, you will find artwork by the talented Colin Bootman. Click on his name to see more of his artwork.

Here are some pictures from the book done in watercolors.

Front Cover:

I was sold on the art, but after I read the story, I liked the book even more. The story is told from the boy's point of view. His father is deaf and brings home tickets to see Jackie Robinson play. The dad wants to meet Jackie Robinson, but the boy doesn't see how that will work because Jackie doesn't know sign language.

The boy works with his dad to try to teach him how to catch a baseball, but his dad always drops the ball. At the games, his dad calls out to Jackie, "'Ah-Ghee, Ah-Ghee.' Everyone looked at my dad. I looked at my shoes."

The boy signs to his dad the bad things that people say to and about Jackie. He also tells about a player purposefully spiking Jackie's leg. This upsets his father. He tells that Jackie was always a gentleman and didn't rise to the bait of the mean people. At the end of the story, the boy's dad is able to catch a ball during one of the games.

I like how this book shows the resilience of people who society deemed as less than. This book is inclusive and shows by words and pictures that all people are valuable.

Do you have a favorite book artist?

Read to a child today, even if that child is you.

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