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Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  495 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Sharon Robinson, the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, has crafted a hearwarming, true story about growing up with her father.

When Jackie Robinson retires from baseball and moves his family to Connecticut, the beautiful lake on their property is the center of everyone's fun. The neighborhood children join the Robinson kids for swimming and boating. But oddly, Ja
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press
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If I could give this book a billion stars, I would. Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson is a story told from a childhood memory, that speaks volumes. What child would not be proud of a father who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball? Yet, he is also the father that braved walking across the frozen ice to test its strength, knowing that he couldn't swim. For his children, he would do the unthinkable...for a nation of baseball fans, he was the first of a long line of fi ...more
Julie Williams
It was 1956. Jackie Robinson has retired from baseball, his family lives on a farm in Connecticut with a pond, and he spends a lot of time with his family and their friends. He tells them stories of his years in baseball and the opposition he faced. In the winter, his children and their friends want to go ice skating so he takes them out to the lake. But before he will let them go out he tests the ice even though he can’t swim. His daughter, Sharon, is amazed at just how brave he was.

The author
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
My children are younger than the ages recommended for this book and they still loved it. My son loved it as he's a huge baseball fan and loved learning about one of America's greatest baseball players. Sharon does such a great job at pulling the reader into this story. It starts out talking about her father's accomplishments and what he endured as an African American baseball player. Then she talks about this beautiful home and property they moved into in CT that had a lovely pond that they woul ...more
Jackie Robinson was a man who "tested the ice" both literally and figuratively. This story is a combination story of Jackie telling his children and the neighbor children the story of how he entered baseball's Major League. He talked about how it was difficult, but he knew it was important for others who would soon follow in his footsteps. The story that continues through this book is that the Robinson's moved to a house in Connecticut and even though the whole family and the neighbor children l ...more
Audience: This book is great for children of all ages. For younger children, it's harder to read but an adult or older child could read it to them. It's also a great read for someone that is a fan of baseball or Jackie Robinsion.

Appeal: I would incorporate this into the classroom when discussing African American history or when talking about treating everyone equally. It tells how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball but it also talks about another fear that he had and that he ov
It is a very moving book. It says about a man who must face his own fear for the sake of his beloved children. The man who cannot swim and is terribly afraid of water avoids going into the lake, which is located near his family's house. At the very beginning we don't know hwy he is afraid of the lake so much; there is a huge mystery around him. it seems like there is a particular reason for his fear of the water. It seems that the man must have had a traumatic experience connected with water in ...more
Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Jackie Robinson, relates events from her childhood and ties them to her father's experiences as the first African American major league baseball player. A great selection for students who already know about Jackie Robinson and his role in the Civil Rights movement.

I'm not sure why this book is considered fiction. The story is written by Sharon Robinson and she relates events from her childhood.
Title: Testing the Ice A True Story About Jackie Robinson
Author: Sharon Robinson; illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Date of Publication: 2009
Genre: Biography/Picture Book
Annotations: In this book, Sharon Robinson tells a short tale of growing up with her father, Jackie Robinson. From describing what it was like where they lived, telling a story from her father’s point of view of what it was like breaking the color barrier in baseball, and how her father tested the ice for her siblings, friends, and her
If a teacher is looking for a mentor text that models courage, I would recommend this title. What I appreciate most about this biography (it is written by Jackie Robinson's daughter Sharon) is that it makes an abstract concept like courage understandable. The text goes between Jackie Robinson's entry into the Major Leagues, and later as a father facing his fear of stepping onto the frozen lake so his kids can ice skate.

When I have read this book aloud to 3rd graders, I ask multiple times, "What
Gabrielle Blockton
Date: October 12th, 2014

Author: Sharon Robinson; Illustrations by Kadir Nelson

Title: Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson

Plot: Sharon Robinson reminisces her childhood and her iconic and legendary baseball dad Jackie Robinson.

Setting: 1955, Cascade Road - Stamford, Connecticut

Characters: Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Jackie Jr., David Robinson, Candy, Willie, and Christy, Branch Rickey,

Point-of-View: First-Person

Theme: Bravery, Courage, and Equality

Style: Narrative; Informa
Audience: Young to Intermediate readers

Appeal: Sports fans, family oriented readers and civil rights activists will enjoy this book.

Awards: 2012 Golden Sower nominee & 2012 Show-Me nominee
I love this book from the way it told the story, to the illustrations to the lesson learned from an American hero.
This is a beautiful book—a tribute from a daughter to her heroic father. And isn’t that the way it should be? My father was certainly my childhood hero (and he still is!). Author Sharon Robinson grew up with fond memories of her father who was the first black man to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. It’s a story about courage brought to life through the stunning illustrations by Kadir Nelson. I especially loved the facial close-ups. They helped to make the story that much more re ...more
Mary Ann
I especially love sharing picture book biographies with young children. They are intrigued by the real stories, and the best of these books push students to think about bigger issues. Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson, is a wonderful, stirring picture book by Sharon Robinson and Kadir Nelson that shares the story of Jackie Robinson with a young audience.

Sharon Robinson, daughter of famed baseball player Jackie Robinson, wrote this book to teach kids about her father, but she f
Elizabeth S
Wonderfully done. While the book tells the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB, that is not the whole purpose of the book. The book is really about bravery, both dramatic and simple. It leaves you feeling that even though your dad isn't on the news or remembered in history, yet he may be just as brave as Jackie Robinson. It is also a glimpse into the home life of Jackie Robinson, as told by his daughter. It doesn't say anything about the kids having friends of different sk ...more
This is a wonderful diversity book of people of color. I enjoyed the illustrations. I would recommend this book to 2nd or 3rd graders.

Children's Literature
This is a beautifully illustrated book written by Jackie Robinson's daughter about her father, his break into baseball, and a personal family story. The family had just moved from Queens, NY to Connecticut and the part of the move that the family liked best was the new friends that they made with the neighbors and the lake that ran to their y
While searching the library shelves for treasures, I came across Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, a true story about Jackie Robinson. The last names are not a coincidence; Sharon wrote this book about her beloved father. What I cherished about her story was that it wasn’t centered around Jackie's record-breaking baseball career, but rather focused on a different side of her father… a side that portrayed vulnerability and insecurities in one of our most profound heroes.
Not only did this hear
Testing the Ice is a short biographical story about one event in the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African American major league baseball player in America. It was written by and from the point of view of an adoring daughter, Sharon Robinson. This story has earned the Choices Award in 2009 from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Parents’ Choice Award in 2009, as well as nominated for the Show Me Award in 2011.

The story begins with a brief history about who Jackie Robinson was, and wh
Linda Silva
Jackie Robinson not only showed his courage when he crossed the race barrier in the American baseball leagues in the 1940's, but he also became the bravest man in his children's eyes. This story shows Jackie and his children interacting in an activity that Jackie is very uncomfortable, swimming. However, when it comes to his children's safety after the pond freezes over, Jackie is the first one out on the ice to check its' thickness. His unselfishness is also evident when he paved the way for ot ...more
Kayla Buchan
Audience: Primary
Genre: Picture Book
Pre-reading strategy: Anticipation Guide- Relate prior knowledge, experiences, and curiosity with new concepts from the book.

As my pre-reading strategy, I would begin by reading a passage from the book:

"Baseball, like most of America, was segregated," Dad began. "Major League Baseball was for whites only. Black-and brown-skinned players had to play in the Negro Leagues. Some of the greatest baseball players were not white. They were denied entry into the maj
Katieb (MundieMoms)
My children are younger than the ages recommended for this book and they still loved it. My son loved it as he's a huge baseball fan and loved learning about one of America's greatest baseball players. Sharon does such a great job at pulling the reader into this story. It starts out talking about her father's accomplishments and what he endured as an African American baseball player. Then she talks about this beautiful home and property they moved into in CT that had a lovely pond that they wou ...more
Testing the Ice is a warm, wonderful story by Jackie’s daughter Sharon, illustrated with the amazing oils of Kadir Nelson. As Sharon tells the story of how her dad braved the ice one winter so she and other kids could go ice skating, you feel as if you are sitting around the living room hearing it live. And it will bring (happy) tears to your eyes!

An author’s note provides additional background on his life.

Evaluation: This book makes a great start for both kids and adults to get an intimate gli
Pre-reading strategy: Listen-Read-Discuss

Listen: Teacher explains that at one time in the USA, people with black or brown skin were forced to sit, eat, and attend school away from white skinned people.

To help the students understand this, ask all the dark skinned children to sit together on the floor, and all the white skinned children to sit in a separate group on the floor.

Read: Once all the children are "segregated", read the story.

Discuss: Teacher allows students to comment on the story. Te
The daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson relates a significant story from her childhood in this picture book beautifully illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Robinson faced hateful, threatening crowds on the diamond when he broke major league baseball’s color barrier, but in his daughter’s eyes his true bravery was exhibited when he walked out onto a frozen pond before allowing kids to ice skate on it--even though he couldn’t swim. Nelson’s richly-colored illustrations bring every inch of space o ...more
Sarah BT
I really enjoyed this book! Sharon Robinson's writing style is beautiful. She never talks down to the reader. She's written a book that has a message without it ever feeling too preachy. Instead, it comes across as her telling a childhood tale. The image of Jackie Robinson stepping out onto the frozen ice, even though he's afraid because he can't swim is also a great metaphor for him stepping into the world of baseball and breaking the color barrier. But this metaphor is worked so well into the ...more
Jade Detzer
This nonfiction text is through the narration of baseball great Jackie Robinson's daughter. This book would be good to show that even heroes like Jackie Robinson have fears. Students could write about a time when they overcame a fear and make their own memoir. This book also give facts about Jackie Robinson's life and how his children looked upon it even after his playing days were over.
April Smith
This is a good book to use as a read aloud for a fourth or fifth grade class when they are discussing segreation. This book tells a true story of what life was like prior to the Civil War, but in a way that is interesting to the children. This is a good book to let a person interested in baseball read because it gives some insight into the way baseball used to be.
Audience: Primary

Genre: Nonfiction

Award: Golden Sower Nominee 2013-2014

Twin Text: Jackie and Me by Dan Gutman is a historical fiction book. I chose both of these books because I teach third grade and in our reading curriculum we have a story on Jackie Robinson. I would love to use these books to enhance our discussion on Jackie Robinson. The twin text Jackie and Me is about a boy named Joe who collects baseball cards. He is assigned a book report on an African American who has made a different i
Testing the Ice is written by Sharon Robinson and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This is the story about the first professional baseball player, who also happened to be black, Jackie Robinson. The story si told from his daughter's, Sharon Robinson, perspective. The story uses the metaphor of testing the ice of a lake in winter to help explain his breaking of the color barrier in baseball. The illustrations in this book keep your eyes glued to every page. The expressions of the characters are beaut ...more
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: The illustrations are amazing ... as all of Nelson's work is). The story did a wonderful job setting the scene of "how things were,” and talks about famous people of the time whose names kids today will recognize. But what really stuck with me is that it is Sharon's personal story of a person "just like me," with people we recognize in ourselves and in our communities even today.

Pros: Beautifully illustrated and well written, this stor
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