Saturday, January 12, 2019

Kid Konnection: Waiting for Pumpsie

Every weekend, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekly feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a picture book biography that's tells a very important story.

Summary: "Change is coming real soon." In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah "Pumpsie" Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie's first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is the start of great change in America.

This fictionalized account captures the true story of baseball player Pumpsie Green's rise to the major leagues. The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today. -- Charlesbridge

WAITING FOR PUMPSIE by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by  London Ladd received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and it's no wonder why. This picture book aimed at ages five to eight tells the story of Pumpsie Green, the first black baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, through the eyes of a young black fan.

Like many kids growing up in Boston, Bernard is a super big Red Sox fan; however, he wonders why they do not have an African American player for them like other Major Leagues teams do. He has grown up rooting for the black players on other teams, even when it's not always easy, but he really wants his home town favorite to have a black player. His parents tell him that change is coming, but he's still doubtful that it will ever happen. When the 1959 Boston Red Sox finally call up Pumpsie Green from the minor league, Bernard is thrilled... and it's even better when his father surprises him with tickets to the game!

I loved WAITING FOR PUMPSIE! It's a beautifully illustrated picture book that teaches young children about the important topic of integration. Not only is this book extremely educational from a historical perspective, but I love that it personalizes just how much this meant to African Americans at this time. In addition, it teaches readers that this transition wasn't easy for our country and many people (unfortunately) weren't accepting of these players.

By telling the story through the eyes of Bernard, I think it personalizes the story for children. It's probably hard for some children to believe that baseball used to be this way, and I think WAITING FOR PUMPSIE shows just how far our country has come... and how far it still has to go.

Another special thing about WAITING FOR PUMPSIE is that the publisher has an excellent curriculum guide available. This guide provides discussion questions with common core standards as well as activity suggestions, a cause and effect analysis worksheet, a making connections worksheet, and a timeline of events worksheet.

WAITING FOR PUMPSIE is an outstanding book that should be in every school and public library. Highly recommended!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I need to get this for our great nephew because he's a huge Red Sox fan. The book sounds terrific!

Dorothy N said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! Great review, as always.