by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
Sharon’s father is Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, and the Breaking Barriers program uses baseball as a metaphor for life and teaches kids to overcome barriers in their own lives while living Jackie Robinson’s nine values:
I am so excited to be able to share Sharon’s novel based on real life, The Hero Two Doors Down, as the Scholastic Book Clubs Book of the Week.
“The story is just as down-to-earth and remarkable as the actual baseball star.”
In this fun-to-read novel and great read-aloud, Sharon combines interesting information about Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the civil rights movement, the Arab-Israeli war, and a slice of life in mid-20th-century America with a truly compelling story about a third grader named Steve Satlow, who found a real friend and mentor in Jackie Robinson.
Sharon Robinson is a dear friend of mine and all of us at Scholastic, and I asked her for some memories about her childhood and her dad.
“My brothers and I were natural athletes. Baseball was a favorite summer evening activity. We played on the front lawn using boulders that dotted the lawn as home plate and first base. Instead of sliding into base, we tapped the smooth rock. Occasionally, Dad joined us. Mostly, it was kids from the neighborhood.
“My childhood was special and normal for us. Our home and property was a haven from the public. We were free to play and explore the natural environments that surrounded us. When we ventured beyond, life was more complex as we shared our parents with the world. Dinner out meant strangers interrupting family conversation for autographs, but it also gave us a view of our father’s importance.”
My friend and colleague David Vozar was inspired to think back on his own childhood baseball hero:
“When I was growing up, we didn’t have a famous baseball player like Jackie Robinson in our neighborhood. But we did have Mr. McGowen, who was a high school guidance counselor living across the street.
“He always went out of his way to join in our baseball games. He would pitch and offer us coaching advice.
“As much as we learned while playing with him, the rules of the game would always break down when he wasn’t there.”
We’ve put together some great resources to help you use The Hero Two Doors Down in your classroom:
• Watch fourth grade teacher Kerry-Ann Reeves share how she uses The Hero Two Doors Down as a mentor text to teach character development and friendship in Book Talks.
• Play ball with the Book Boys in a fun, classroom-friendly video.
• Download and print a free teacher-approved worksheet to help your students practice forming big ideas based on inferences from the text in Cooked Up from a Book.
• Read an exclusive interview with author Sharon Robinson in Behind the Scenes.
I hope you and your students enjoy The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson and that it inspires you to embrace Jackie Robinson’s values in your classroom!
I am headed to the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Baltimore this weekend, and I will see Sharon Robinson there. I want to tell her in person about all the wonderful feedback we are getting from teachers and kids about The Hero Two Doors Down. So please send any comments to me at: JNBlog@scholastic.com
I’ll send a copy of The Hero Two Doors Down signed by Sharon Robinson to the first ten people who respond!
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs