Year Published: 2010
Written by: Sharon Robinson
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
Young Steve Satlow is thrilled when his hero Jackie Robinson moves onto his block. After the famed second baseman invites Steve to a Dodgers game, the two become friends. So when Jackie hears that the Satlows don’t have a Christmas tree, he decides to give them one, not realizing the Satlows are Jewish. But Jackie’s gift helps these two different families discover how much they have in common.
Written by the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson and illustrated by a Caldecott Honor winner, Jackie’s Gift is a holiday tale-based on a true story-about friendship and breaking barriers.
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3–Jackie Robinson’s daughter tells a story that takes place during the family’s first Christmas in Brooklyn. Not everyone was happy to see a black family move in to the neighborhood. Young Steve Satlow, an avid Dodger fan, and his parents are exceptions; they welcome the Robinsons and become friends. On Christmas Eve, Steve is helping the Robinsons decorate their tree when Jackie learns that the Satlows don’t have one. He shows up at their home with a tree for Steve, and his wife comes later with extra ornaments. They then learn that the Satlows are Jewish. What could have been an awkward moment becomes a lesson in tolerance and friendship. Lewis’s lovely paintings do a fine job of conveying the time and place in this heartwarming story.Virginia Walter, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
Beginning with Stealing Home (1996), the author has introduced children to her father, Jackie Robinson, in a series of warmhearted picture books that humanize the legend. Based on actual events, this latest title begins with the Robinsons move to Brooklyn, where the community petitions against the African American family’s arrival. Robinson tells the story from the perspective of a young Jewish boy, Steve Satlow, whose mother reminds him of the persecution that forced his Russian grandparents to seek religious freedom in America. Steve is thrilled when his family befriends the Robinsons, and he gets to watch the famous second baseman in action. In December, he helps the Robinsons decorate their Christmas tree, which starts a series of miscommunications between the two families that ends warmly. The realities of the racial prejudice that the Robinsons faced are a strong undercurrent in this story, which reaches for larger themes of cultural and religious tolerance, and Lewis sensitive watercolor portraits capture the family dynamics and further showcase Robinson as both a great athlete and as the neighbor next door who makes mistakes like anyone else. Grades K-3. –Gillian Engberg