A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Robinson's life story intersects with many landmark moments in the history of the U.S. civil rights movement. Key historical concepts are briefly explained in helpful sidebars throughout the text, and a timeline in the appendix provides additional information.
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on others."
Positive Role Models
Jack Robinson's tireless efforts on behalf of Black freedom and civil rights are legendary and inspirational to this day. While he was a complicated person with a quick temper, his legacy as a sportsman, activist, advocate, and philanthropist is unassailable.
Not only did Jack break the color barrier in baseball, he was also a devoted champion and spokesman for equal rights and Black progress in an era of racial oppression. As one of the most famous and celebrated Black Americans of his time, he was a trailblazer who consistently used his platform to speak out against segregation, discrimination, and anti-Black terrorism.
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Violence & Scariness
There are some haunting descriptions and photographs of anti-Black violence, including police brutality against protesters, the Birmingham church bombing, and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. However, there's nothing too graphic.
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In describing the racism Robinson faced throughout his life and career, there are many quotes that use ethnic stereotypes and slurs, including the "N" word.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter is a detailed, moving biography for tweens about one of the most iconic athletes and activists in American history. The book recounts some disturbing details of the racism and violence faced by Jack and other African Americans in an era of segregation and White supremacist terrorism, but Robinson's courage and compassion shine through the darkness.
Is It Any Good?
At once a compelling biography and an insightful window onto the civil rights movement, this book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in sports and society in American history. The authors fill the pages with rich and revealing quotes, eye-opening reproductions of historical photographs and newspaper clippings, and helpful — if a bit surface-level — sidebars that introduce some of the complex political history that bled into Jack's life and work.
Jack Robinson's politics are, at times, complex and contradictory, and there are moments where more context and commentary could have helped younger readers make sense of the issues. Still, as an introduction to the life and times of a towering figure in sports and civil rights, Call Him Jack succeeds on nearly every level.
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