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Reviewer rating

Format reviewed: Audio
Ready by Chris Andrew Ciulla and Lisa Renee Pitts
3 hours

New York

The Empire State

The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson

Place:

Time Period:

Focus:

Tone:

Brooklyn
1948
Baseball, Jackie Robinson, Jewish-Americans, discrimination
Contemplative and thought provoking

The Hero Two Doors Down is a “fictionalized” true story written by Sharon Robinson, daughter of the legendary Jackie Robinson, based on her family’s friendship with their Jewish neighbors. Instead of writing a strictly non-fiction book for children, she “fictionalizes” it by adding conversations and thoughts she was not privy to. This allows her story to “come alive” for readers by having a more intimate “first person” narrator. 

Sharon Robinson tells the true story of her family’s friendship with the Jewish-American family “two doors down” from the point of view of 8-year old Steven Satlow, a huge Brooklyn Dodgers’ fan as well as a great fan of Jackie Robinson. Imagine Steven’s amazement when he finds out that Jackie Robinson is moving into his neighborhood!

This book addresses topics such as discrimination, what it was like to break the color barrier in sports, and “cross-cultural” friendships in multi-ethnic New York City. Steven is a boy filled with hopes, dreams and longings, especially when it comes to baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers. His behavior is not always exemplary and he is often in trouble at school and at home. Through his friendship with Jackie, Steven learns about taking responsibility, controlling his anger and impulses and being more respectful to others. The story’s pacing is slow and thoughtful and is punctuated with moments of excitement, humor, victory and the thrill of having dreams come true. This book is a call to cross societal barriers and to get to know people from other races, faiths and backgrounds to everyone’s benefit.

Awards: Nominated for the 18-19 Crown Award.

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