Saturday, May 23, 2015

Picture Book Biographies: Three Athletes Who Pursued Their Passion

This spring I've had so many great picture books come to me that it has been nearly impossible to look at all of them. I'm slowly working my way through them and taking note of how I can use them with my students.  These three picture book biographies are the latest I've had the chance to read.

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeborah is an intriguing and inspiring story. Emmanuel was born in Ghana, West Africa, a child who was healthy except for a leg that was crippled.

Although his mother was told he would be worthless, she didn't believe it.  She didn't allow any disability to stand in her son's way and instilled in him a belief in himself.

Things were not easy for Emmanuel as he made his way in the world, eventually giving people with disabilities a voice in West Africa as he embarked on a four hundred mile bike ride.

Emmanuel's story kept my students' interest and they marveled at his ability to ride a bike with just one leg.  They also noted how different the United States treats people with disabilities than Yeborah's Ghana.

Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story by Emily Arnold McCully share the story of a time when baseball was the national pasttime.  Lizzie was an amazing baseball player. She loved the sport.  However, as a girl in the early 1900s, she was discouraged from playing by her mother who didn't see any future in it for her.

Lizzie didn't give up.  She pursued her passion and found a place for herself doing what she loved.  Lizzie Murphy became the first female to play professional ball.  

Despite the fact that baseball doesn't receive as much attention as it once did, this was still a book my students (and my second grade daughter) enjoyed a lot.

Pedro Martinez is a name I have heard for years, yet I knew nothing about him except that he was an amazing baseball player.  Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares tells Pedro's story along with his older brother, Ramon's.  The two boys grew up poor in the Dominican Republic. Ramon's baseball skill eventually landed him in the major leagues in the United States, something Pedro also strove for.  

Despite the fact that he was small for a pitcher the Dodgers decided to give him a chance.  And Pedro never looked back.  His work ethic helped him achieve his dream.  

Pedro's success on the baseball field also allowed him to help his family and community and give back to his people. I loved this look at the Martinez brothers.

All three biographies are recent addition to my school library collection.  My students have been big biography readers this year so I'm happy to add a few more stories to the collection and broadening their knowledge of little known people who made contributions to the world.

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