Review of All-Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball

All-Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball All-Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball
by Audrey Vernick; illus. by Cannaday Chapman
Primary    Clarion/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g
1/22    978-1-328-48297-6    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-358-46820-2    $12.99

In 1947, eleven and a half weeks after Jackie Robinson became the first Black player in Major League Baseball, Larry Doby became the second, and the first in the American League. Doby faced the same racism as Robinson. He was shunned by some of his teammates on the Cleveland Indians. He couldn’t stay at whites-only hotels, or even enter the main gates of some stadiums. Opposing players spit on him and called him racist names. But he made a place for himself and was named to the All-Star team seven years in a row. Following her subject from an integrated neighborhood in Camden, South Carolina, to high school football, to the Newark Eagles in the Negro Leagues, Vernick (Brothers at Bat, rev. 3/12; The Kid from Diamond Street, rev. 1/16) provides just the right amount of lively text to complement Chapman’s (Feed Your Mind, rev. 1/20) beautifully composed illustrations, especially effective in dramatic angles and shifting viewpoints: sliding into third base with a panoramic view of left field and the stands; a handshake with team owner Bill Veeck; and a back-view image (based on a famous photograph, appended) of a hug shared with pitcher Steve Gromek after a World Series win. This is a balanced account of one player’s brilliant achievements and the ongoing struggle for racial equality in sports and society. Back matter includes a bibliography and an author’s note detailing the many firsts in Doby’s career.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dean Schneider
Dean Schneider teaches seventh and eighth grades at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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