Cover image for 42 is not just a number : the odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American hero
42 is not just a number : the odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American hero
First edition
Physical Description:
119 pages ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
1010 L Lexile
Personal Subject:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 ROBINSON 1 1
Book J 921 ROBINSON 1 1
Book J 921 ROBINSON 1 1
Book J 921 ROBINSON 1 1

On Order



An eye-opening look at the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and became an American hero.Baseball, basketball, football - no matter the game, Jackie Robinson excelled. His talents would have easily landed another man a career in pro sports, but such opportunities were closed to athletes like Jackie for one reason: his skin was the wrong color. Settling for playing baseball in the Negro Leagues, Jackie chafed at the inability to prove himself where it mattered most: the major leagues. Then in 1946, Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, recruited Jackie Robinson. Jackie faced cruel and sometimes violent hatred and discrimination, but he proved himself again and again, exhibiting courage, determination, restraint, and a phenomenal ability to play the game. In this compelling biography, award-winning author Doreen Rappaport chronicles the extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson and how his achievements won over - and changed - a segregated nation.

Author Notes

Doreen Rappaport is the author of more than fifty books for children, including Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust; Lady Liberty: A Biography, illustrated by Matt Tavares; and Martin's Big Words, illustrated by Bryan Collier. Doreen Rappaport lives in upstate New York.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Rappaport (Elizabeth Started All the Trouble) uses personal vignettes to bring to vivid life the story of the first man to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Grabbing readers' attention with lines such as, "It was 3:00 a.m., but no one in the Robinson family was sleeping," Rappaport pulls them in close to witness events that shaped baseball great Jackie Robinson. From a racist encounter with a neighbor at age eight to his time spent in the U.S. Army and the Negro Leagues, 21 short chapters tell a story of courage, self-control, and perseverance. One chapter excerpts poignant fan letters sent during Jackie's first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers: "If I can raise my boy to be half the man that you are," an admirer writes. Drawing from Robinson's autobiography and other sources, Rappaport explores some of the seminal events in Robinson's life and the ballplayer's feelings about them, ably profiling a groundbreaking athlete and "one-person civil rights movement." An author's note, timeline, extensive source notes, bibliography, and index are included. Ages 8-12. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Early on, young Jackie Robinson was taught to fight back when faced with racial slurs and prejudice, and he did, first as one of the few black kids in his neighborhood and later as one of the few black officers on his army base. But those injustices and the indignities he endured while playing for Negro league baseball were dwarfed by the hostility shown by many white players and fans when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. While children's books on Jackie Robinson are plentiful, this well-researched, concise biography clearly shows the extraordinary burdens he carried and recognizes his significance as an agent of change within American society. A Dodgers fan as a child during the Robinson years, Rappaport offers an engaging account of the man's life and presents enough background information about American racism during the 1930s and 1940s to help young readers understand the depth of his courage and the magnitude of his achievement as a one-person civil rights movement. --Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2017 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Jackie Robinson's life has inspired a number of biographies for kids, and Rappaport (Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust; Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) adds a well-rounded and nuanced portrayal. The book examines Jack Roosevelt Robinson's life from his early years (including teenage run-ins with the law) and concludes its detailed coverage roughly 90 pages later with the World Series of 1947. The more than 20 pages of back matter tackle brief high points in Robinson's dazzling career and excellent source notes. Rappaport does not sugarcoat the challenges Robinson faced, repeating racial slurs in the text. Although Robinson sometimes lost his temper, he kept his dignity through incidents that will make readers cringe. Robinson was not welcome at team hotels. He ate many meals in restaurants separate from the team, with only manager Wendell Smith for company, and he was harassed and insulted by opposing players and occasionally by teammates as well. A discussion guide is planned and may help adults and younger readers process the prejudice and hate that Robinson endured, particularly in his childhood and early career. VERDICT An excellent biography that humanizes its legendary subject for middle schoolers.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A tribute to a man who spoke out forthrightly against racial injusticeuntil, on a larger stage, he let his deeds do the talking.Beginning with a childhood exchange with a neighbor (she hurls the N-word at him thrice; he responds with "cracker"), Rappaport focuses on her subject's refusal to stay silent in the face of prejudicial treatment in youth and during his military career. This has the effect of underscoring the strength of character he displayed in controlling his reactions to the vicious provocations of fans and fellow players once he broke professional baseball's color line, setting readers up for a nicely contextualized understanding of his career. Unfortunately, she ends her account with the 1947 World Series and in a cursory summation barely mentions the rest of Robinson's achievements in baseball and after. This, along with the lack of photos or even a stat box in the backmatter, gives the profile a sketchy feel next to Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America, by his daughter, Sharon Robinson (2004)a title that is included in the perfunctory list of suggested further readingor any of the several more complete, better packaged appreciations of his life, times, and legacy available. A pinch hitter, at best, behind a strong lineup of competitors. (timeline, endnotes, index) (Biography. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.