Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares

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I have a teetering stack of books sitting next to my desk. As the 2015 L4LL Latino Children's Summer Reading Program comes closer and closer, the pile continues to grow as authors, illustrators and publishers send me new titles to consider for the program's recommended summer reading list. And in that pile are many, many wonderful stories just waiting to be discovered by a reader. So I'm going to try and focus on more book reviews so that you'll discover them, too, and be able to share them with your familia. 

Since this month we are celebrating Black History Month, I want to start off with a book that features an amazing Afro-Latino athlete. Growing Up Pedro (aff link) is a new title by Candlewick Press. Written and illustrated by Matt Tavares, it is the story of baseball legend Pedro Jaime Martínez, the Dominican-American pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for five teams. According to Wikipedia, Martinez is "an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and 2004 World Series champion. His WHIP is the lowest of any live-ball era starting pitcher, and his Adjusted ERA+ is the best of any starting pitcher in MLB history. Martínez also has the second highest winning percentage in modern baseball history, and the third highest strikeout rate and strikeout-to-walk ratio."

If you have a young baseball player in your home - and even if you don't - this beautifully illustrated picture biography of Pedro is a must read. Your child will learn what life was like for Pedro as a child in the Dominican Republic before he made it into the big leagues and moved to the United States. You'll read about the special bond he shared with his older brother Ramón, who preceded Pedro to the States as a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And you'll cheer for him when despite his small size, Pedro becomes one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball.

The story is nicely told and the illustrations are phenomenal. It would be a great book to read together when you are covering the following themes: baseball, sports, the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, Afro-Latinos, family, brothers, siblings, determination, persistence, and more. In fact, you can find a lesson plan for this and three other books by Matt Tavares on baseball legends here.

The book is written in English only.

Check out the book trailer below...

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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