Friday, July 28, 2017

Picture Book Friday

Here’s a wonderful book for the 2017 Baseball Season.

WAITING FOR PUMPSIE by Barry Wittenstein with illustrations by London Ladd is the fictionalized story about the integration of the Boston Red Sox in 1959 when they brought up their first black player, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green.

Major league baseball began to integrate in 1947 when Jackie Robinson took the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it took another 12 years before fans at Fenway finally saw a black player on their team.

Bernard, the young narrator of the story has waited and waited for that day, and the story brings that moment to life with energy, sensitivity, and honesty. Vivid illustrations are a bold counterpoint to the strong text.

Beginning with spring training, the tension builds as Bernard’s family observes the growing pressure both from stadium crowds and members of the civil rights movement to give Pumpsie Green his moment. Bernard’s family are devoted to the Red Sox and follow the season’s play as the Sox slip in the standings, but It’s not until a July game – the eighth inning with the Red Sox down two to one – that the waiting is finally over. Bernard’s voice transports the reader to both time and place and immerses the audience in the heart-pounding excitement.

Willy Mays and Jackie Robinson are probably far more familiar names. It’s time for Elijah “Pumpsie” Green’s story to be shared with young audiences.

This is an excellent addition to home and school libraries for the young baseball fans in your family.

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