“Child of the Dream — a Memoir of 1963” by Daughter of Baseball Legend Jackie Robinson

by September 18, 2019

In January 1963, Sharon Robinson turns thirteen the night before George Wallace declares on national television “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” in his inauguration speech as governor of Alabama. It is the beginning of a year that will change the course of American history.

As the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, Sharon has opportunities that most people would never dream of experiencing. Her family hosts multiple fund-raisers at their home in Connecticut for the work that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is doing. Sharon sees her first concert after going backstage at the Apollo Theater. And her whole family attends the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

But things don’t always feel easy for Sharon. She is one of the only Black children in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood. Her older brother, Jackie Robinson Jr., is having a hard time trying to live up to his father’s famous name, causing some rifts in the family. And Sharon feels isolated—struggling to find her role in the civil rights movement that is taking place across the country.

This is the story of how one girl finds her voice in the fight for justice and equality.

Kirkus Starred Review–June 15, 2019

“Sharon, I cannot promise you that the passage of any law will eliminate hate. But the laws will give Negroes full citizenship and bring us closer to equality.” Legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson—most famously known for breaking baseball’s racial barrier when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947—gave this nuanced benediction to his only daughter, 13-year-old Sharon, as the family heard the disheartening news of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. What the memoirist also beautifully and accessibly conveys is how her parents succeeded—and, by their admission, sometimes failed—in rooting her and her two brothers, 10-year-old David and 16-year-old Jackie Jr., in the realities of pater Robinson’s renown, Connecticut’s 1960s- style racial microaggressions, and the seismic social and political shifts augured by the emerging civil rights movement. Thanks to the author’s deft and down-to-earth style, readers understand how the personal and political converge: When her brother runs away from home in order to get away from his father’s shadow, she muses on the social pressures of a school dance in the midst of midcentury U.S. racism; it is at a jazz fundraiser her parents coordinate for the Southern Christian Leadership conference that she finally meets Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A lovingly honest memoir of a racial—and social activist—past that really hasn’t passed. (Memoir. 8-14)”

— Kirkus Reviews

About Sharon Robinson

Sharon Robinson is an author and educational consultant for Major League Baseball. As founder and consultant, Sharon, MLB, and Scholastic co-manage Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life a baseball-themed national character education curriculum designed to empower students to face obstacles in their lives. The program includes a national essay contest for students in grades 4-9 and throughout MLB’s RBI program. Each year, thousands of students write an essay about how they used the values demonstrated by Jackie Robinson to overcome their challenges. Essay winners are celebrated in their schools and in Major League ballparks. Since 1997, the program has reached over 34 million students and 4.6 million educators in the continental United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Ms. Robinson is an award winning children’s book author. She has published several widely praised books about her father, baseball legend Jackie Robinson, including Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By, Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America, Jackie Robinson: American Hero (children’s biography), and picture books Testing the Ice, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and Jackie’s Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah, illustrated by EB Lewis. Sharon’s other books include novels and picture books: Safe at Home and Slam Dunk!, Under The Same Sun, (2014 Parents’ Choice Award Winner), and The Hero Two Doors Down (2017 Finalist 48th NAACP Image Awards; 2017-18 Sunshine State Award Winner, 2019 Nutmeg Book Award). Her forthcoming book, Child of the Dream, a timely new memoir which explores Robinson’s coming to grips with the struggle for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement, will be published by Scholastic in fall 2019.

Prior to joining MLB, Sharon had a 20-year career as a nurse-midwife and educator. She taught in such prestigious universities as: Yale, Columbia, Howard, and Georgetown and is Vice Chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Ms. Robinson received her Bachelor’s degree from Howard University and Master’s from Columbia. She went on to earn a post-Master’s Certificate in Teaching from the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and received honorary doctorates from: Medaille College, Dowling College, and Monmouth College. Sharon lives in Delray Beach, Florida.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email