Jackie Robinson is the most famous African-American baseball player. In his new book, Just as Good: How Larry Doby Changed America's Game, Chris Crow tells the story of lesser known Larry Doby. Doby was the first African-American player in the American League. He played for the Cleveland Indians and helped lead them to the World Series and their first victory in many years. This book focuses on one single game in the series, told by a fictional character named Homer. Homer was told he couldn't play on his local Little League team because he was black.
Homer and his parents listen to the game on their new radio. Mike Benny has blended his illustrations with Chris Crow's text and they transport us between the kitchen table where Homer's family is listening to the game and the stadium where the Indians are battling the Boston Braves. Homer's excitement is just as genuine as if they had attended the actually game. Mr. Crow's story shares the inspiration that came during a time when baseball was changed forever. When he sees the picture of Larry Doby and Steve Gromek in the newspaper the next day, Homer's daddy ends the book saying, "Change ain't a-coming', Homer. It's already here."
Young fans of baseball will enjoy reading this story. I can't wait to add it to my classroom library in the "Sports" basket. I think the "Historical Note" in the back of the book adds a lot to the text, rich in detail and ties this story to that of Jackie Robinson. I think young readers, especially baseball fans will love this book.