Rachel Kamin is the Director of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. A past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, Rachel is currently the co-editor of Book Reviews for Children & Teens for the Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter. She holds a BA in history from Grinnell College and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Michigan.
Hammerin’ Hank: The Life of Hank Greenberg
The mother-daughter writer/illustrator team of McDonough and Zeldis offer readers a picture book biography of Hank Greenberg, “a baseball player who was tall, strong, and handsome” and who also “happened to be Jewish.” With quotes from Greenberg and others interspersed within the text, McDonough details his childhood in New York City and the Bronx, his experiences playing basketball at NYU, his career playing baseball for the Detroit Tigers, his decision to serve in the US Army during World War II, and his ownership of the Chicago White Sox. She also recounts the anti-Semitism that Greenberg faced from fans and players, his decision to play on Rosh Hashanah but not on Yom Kippur, and his encounter with Jackie Robinson. The bright, folk-art paintings in bold, garish colors, match the setting and mood created by the text. And, caricatures of other Jewish baseball players, like Moe Berg, Sandy Koufax, Shawn Green, and Gabe Kapler are cleverly included, in baseball card style, on the end pages. The appendix includes Hank Greenberg’s vital statistics, a chronology of his life, a glossary, and a bibliography, rounding out this wonderfully accessible introduction to baseball’s first Jewish superstar. Ages 7 – 10.
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