Testing the Ice

January 31, 2011

My daughter Eliz is celebrating her 14th birthday today.  We had a fun weekend going to the mall, dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant, and movie with a friend.  Elizabeth shares her birthday with a special person – Happy Birthday Sam!

Eliz and Sam share their birthday with a historical figure who I greatly admire – Jackie Robinson.  Jackie not only was a great baseball player.  He displayed true character of courage under fire.  When I think of my sons playing baseball, I want them to have the same determination and focus that Jackie had.

In years past, I have posted other books about Jackie Robinson.  This year, I found another book written by Sharon Robinson, his daughter, and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.  Kadir has the most distinct, stunning paintings for his illustrations, vivid and bold.  I love them.

Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson: Book CoverTesting the Ice A True Story about Jackie Robinson is a story told through his daughter’s eyes.  It’s story about courage outside the ball park.  It’s a story about Jackie facing a fear for his family.

Jackie Robinson bought a home in the country with a river that brought lots of enjoyment to the family.  Even though his children would do their best to coax him to come out and swim, Jackie never did.  He was afraid of the water.  This story takes place in the winter after a hard freeze.  The children want to go ice skating and beg their father to let them go.  Jackie gives in, but first he ventures out onto the lake to check to see if it is safe.  As Jackie is walking out their, his daughter realizes the courage her father is showing to them.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Testing the Ice: a True Story About Jackie Robinson:

  • Memoir – lessons learned told through the daughter’s point of view
  • Character Thinking –  Mr. Rickey asked Jackie some tough question about playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Jackie shares his thinking, decision-making.
  • Foreshadowing – throughout the book, Sharon shares how Jackie would never go into the water.  The reader understands that Jackie cannot swim.
  • Magic of 3 – “out the sliding glass doors, down the back stairs and down the hall
  • Character building – courage