Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something to Prove

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.

Title: Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe DiMaggio
Author: Robert Skead
Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group's Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: April, 2013
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: In 1936, the New York Yankees wanted to test a hot prospect named Joe DiMaggio to see if he was ready for the big leagues. They knew just the ballplayer to call--Satchel Paige, the best pitcher anywhere, black or white. For the game, Paige joined a group of amateur African-American players, and they faced off against a team of white major leaguers plus young DiMaggio.

What I Think: Although I was aware of both of these players and love baseball, I did not know about this story and it was fascinating! What an interesting look into civil rights and baseball history. Although Satchel Paige was not allowed to play in the majors because of the color of his skin, he was known to be the best pitcher, so when the Yankees wanted to see how good Joe DiMaggio was, they put their Yankees up against Paige's team.  This was an event that surpassed the racism of the 1930's as baseball fans of all races joined together to root on the players. As a 21st century citizen, the idea of being the best yet not being able to play in the majors baffles me as I am sure it would our students thus would be a great discussion start into the prejudice that existed in the past.  In addition to the fascinating story, the illustrations are beautiful and add an element to the story that would not exist without. Also, the author's notes at the end of the book are so informative and interesting. 
Read Together: Grades 2 to 8
Read Alone: Grades 4 and up
Read With: Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park, Chin Music by Lee Edelstein, Nonfiction books about Satchel Paige, Joe DiMaggio, baseball history
Snatch of Text: "In the winter of 1936, New York Yankees general manager Ed Barrow and his scout Bill Essick needed to test a young, skinny prospect named Joe Dimaggio. "To see how good he is, he has to face the best," said Barrow." (p. 8) 
Mentor Text for: Making connections, Research
Writing Prompts: In the 1930's, America was just beginning the journey of equality between races and genders. This story shows one way that we have changed over time allowing all races to play within the Major League Baseball corportation. Research race or gender rights and how they have changed since the 1930's and write about one of these changes. 
Topics Covered: Joe DiMaggio, Satchel Paige, Civil Rights/Racism, Baseball
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