Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
It is 1947 and Yankee fever grips the Bronx. Nine-year-old Joey Sexton joins the neighborhood kids who flock to the park to team up and play. However, Joey is of mixed race and his skin is lighter than the other kids’. He is seldom picked.
When Joey’s mother dies, he is sent to live with his mother’s estranged family. Joey is whisked away to Brooklyn. Though it’s just across town, it might as well be a different world. His grandfather, his aunt Frieda, and his ten-year-old cousin Roberta are not only white, they are Jewish. Joey knows nothing about Brooklyn or Judaism. The only thing that’s constant is the baseball madness that grips the community. Only this time, the heroes aren’t Joey’s beloved Yankees. They are the Brooklyn Dodgers, especially Jackie Robinson, a man whose struggle to integrate baseball helped set the stage for black America’s struggle for acceptance and civil rights.
Joey’s story takes readers to a time when America’s favorite pastime became a battleground for human rights.
About the author
- Nominated, Sydney Taylor Book Award, Association of Jewish Libraries
Ellen Schwartz is the author of nonfiction for teens and numerous works of fiction. With Tundra she has published I’m a Vegetarian and I Love Yoga, and is also well-known for her critically acclaimed Starshine series, and her picture book, Mr. Belinsky’s Bagels. Ellen Schwartz lives with her family in Burnaby, British Columbia.
“Excellent writing style propels the novel, making it almost impossible to put down. The novel has an immediate appeal to sports enthusiasts…but also fits well into various curriculum areas. Family relationships and challenges are well developed, with strong female characters, even though the novel is faithful to the reality of the era and culture. Stealing Home would make an excellent novel for classroom use and discussion.”
— Resource Link
Praise for I’m a Vegetarian:
“… [an] easygoing yet thorough overview…highly recommended…”
“What the book does best is supply young vegetarians with information and tools to make their lives easier …”
— The Globe and Mail
Stealing HomeEllen Schwartz’s Stealing Home uses a groundbreaking event in social history as the background for her latest novel. It’s 1947 and nine-year-old Joey Sexton, the recently orphaned son of a black father and white Jewish mother, is sent to live with his mother’s relatives. Joey and cousin Roberta hit it off due to their shared love of baseball, while Aunt Frieda is kind and affectionate yet strict. But Joey most wants his grandfather’s love and acceptance so he embarks on the heartbreaking, challenging, and frustrating task of trying to win them. Joey believes his grandfather doesn’t like him because he’s part-black, but the reasons for their strained relationship are much more complex and linked to his mother.
Schwartz cleverly sets the story in the year that Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the colour barrier in professional baseball. This monumental event unfolds throughout the book, serving as the backdrop to Joey’s story. A Yankees fan, Joey naturally hates the Dodgers but he is grudgingly converted by the presence of Jackie Robinson. Joey and Jackie are alike in that they belong where there are but meet with mixed acceptance. But while Jackie Robinson promises to not resort to violence no matter how much he is provoked on the field, Joey is quick to use his fists to settle disputes with other boys. The author gives readers an entertaining, revealing, and moving glimpse into the intersection of childhood, life, race relations, baseball, religion, family, and friendship in 1940s New York.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2007. Vol.30 No.2.
H Stealing HomeIt is 1947 and Yankee Fever grips the Bronx. Nineyear- old Joey is determined to belong in the world – whatever it takes. A story of racial tension, baseball and a new kind of hero.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.