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Waiting for Pumpsie

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  40 reviews
In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah "Pumpsie" Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie's first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by Charlesbridge Publishing
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Gary Anderson
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t see the usual batch of baseball picture books this spring, but Barry Wittenstein’s Waiting for Pumpsie would be a standout in any year. The main character Bernard is fictional, but the events surrounding the 1959 Red Sox debut of Elijah “Pumpsie” Green are true. Although Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947, twelve seasons later the Boston Red Sox had never fielded a black player. Then in 1959 Pumpsie Green was ready to move from the minor leagues to the Red Sox. ...more
An original way to tell a biography (although this is not primarily about Pumpsie's life), or we could just consider this historical fiction.
Living in Maine with many of my students being Red Sox fans and know well the Green Monster, I look forward to their reaction to this.
The illustrations remind me of a number of baseball picture books. One minor detail is the page where Bernard is leaving the stadium and looks back - no one is behind him - there would be a huge crowd pressing on him to also
Bernard loves his Boston Red Sox. And he loves the chance to see them play at Fenway Park one time each year. Even if a white fan tells them to shut up, and a policeman tells them to learn to behave. In 1959 Boston, racism still exists. But Bernard's parents encourage him to hope for change, to look forward to the day when a Negro ball player will step up to bat for the Red Sox. As with many young people, Bernard has a hard time being patient, as do many children. But when the day finally comes, ...more
A Red Sox fan hopes for an integrated team. End notes give context.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Young Bernard is a Red Sox fan, but this African American Boy wonders why his team, the Boston Red Sox, don't have a black player like Willie Mays or Jackie Robinson. Then the Sox call up Pumpsie Green. Bernard is at Pumpsie's first game where he nails a triple and wins the game for the Sox.
We have a nice collection of books about Jackie Robinson, but this is an important one to include in a discussion of race and sports. Robison broke the color barrier in 1947; Pumpsie didn't appear at Fenway
Janet Squires
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WAITING FOR PUMPSIE by Barry Wittenstein with illustrations by London Ladd is the fictionalized story about the integration of the Boston Red Sox in 1959 when they brought up their first black player, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green.

Major league baseball began to integrate in 1947 when Jackie Robinson took the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it took another 12 years before fans at Fenway finally saw a black player on their team.

Bernard, the young narrator of the story has waited and waited for that
Melissa Powers
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bernard loved the Red Sox, but who doesn't when you live in Boston? He always wants the Sox to win, but his parents tell him he has to cheer for any team that has colored players. Bernard doesn't understand why the Red Sox do not have any colored players yet. After one sour experience at a game Bernard's parents tell him, "change is coming real soon." Bernard wants to believes them. When spring training comes there is an African American player named Pumpsie Green who is in he Negro minor ...more
Erin Buhr
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book blew me away and that's rare, especially for a book about baseball. WAITING FOR PUMPSIE is set in Boston in 1959 on the cusp of Major League Baseball history. The Boston Red Sox fans are anticipating the first black player, Elijah "Pumpsie" Green, being called up to the majors and no one is more excited than a little boy named Bernard. Barry Wittenstein tells this story with the perfect blend of suspense, grace, and love. He tackles the very real issues of race relations and ...more
Terry Pierce
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A well-told story, set in 1959, about Bernard's wish for his beloved Red Sox to bring up their first Negro player from the minors. Bernard must learn to be patient and overcome the racism that stands in the way of his dream... Until Pumpsie Green is finally called up! The Boston Red Sox were the last major league baseball team to integrate. This fiction story (based on true baseball history) is a wonderful way for children to understand an important part of our history.
Amanda Sanders
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Barry Wittenstein reminds the youth of today that integration was slow and difficult even in baseball. Bernard is a Red Sox fan who does not understand why his team doesn't have a black player but all the other MLB teams do. Boston was the last team to integrate. Racism is not and was not only in the south.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
It is hard to believe that there was ever a time when there weren't African Americans in Sports. Hockey is really the only sport where there aren't a lot of African Americans, but that is growing!
It is nice to hear about Pumpsie Green the first "colored" player for the Boston Red Sox! It is an important story to tell about sports as well as racism!
Pamela Powell
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
As the author mentions in his note at the end of the book, I assumed that once Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball that all the teams quickly followed suit. This book debunks that notion. In fact , Robinson had been retired for two years before Pumpsie was called up to play!
Joan Marie
This historical fiction picture book is about a Bernard and his family waiting for the day the Boston Red Sox would let Black players on their team. Finally it happens. Elijah "Pumpsie" Green is on the team. But it still takes awhile before he gets to actually play. But when he does, "It's like New Year's Eve and Fourth of July rolled into one."
Thank you, Mr. Wittenstein, for teaching me about Elijah "Pumpsie" Green and how long it was (12 years!) between Jackie Robinson taking the field for Brooklyn and Pumpsie Green taking the field for Boston.
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The Red Sox finally integrated their team in 1959 - the last team to do so. The young protagonist tells the story of the season this finally happened. The author provides historical notes at the end.
Edward Sullivan
The Boston Red Sox was the last Major League team to integrate. Red Sox fan Bernard is overjoyed to see it finally happen when Elijah "Pumpsie" Green is called up to join the team. Boldly illustrated by London Ladd.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book about moving toward equality and sports. Sports can unite and help society for the better.
Mary Lee
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pair this with a biography of Jackie Robinson, who was retired for two years before Pumpsie was allowed to play for the Red Sox. Change comes slowly sometimes, but it comes.
Alex  Baugh
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
We always hear about Jackie Robinson and how he broke the color barrier in baseball playing baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. But it took 12 more years, for the Boston Red Sox to finally put a black player on their team roster and that player was Elijah "Pumpsie" Green. And for the narrator of this book, Bernard, it couldn't happen soon enough. Bernard and his family are big Sox fans, but he wants to know why there are no black players on his favorite team and he knows that Pumpsie, a ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the author and Blue Slip Media for providing a free review copy. All opinions are my own.

I love picture book biographies! Once again, by reading Waiting for Pumpsie I learned about an important moment in history I knew nothing about. In 1959, all of the major league baseball teams had been integrated for some time, except for the Boston Red Sox.
That summer, the Red Sox were losing almost every game, even though they had a black minor league player, Pumpsie Green, who was rumored
Based on the true story of Pumpise Green's debut as a baseball player for the Boston Red Sox in 1959, Wittenstein tells the story of racism in sport and how Pumpsie's eventual moment of playing led to the historic dismantling of those barriers within the game which prevented black players from playing. Told through the eyes of the fictional character, Bernard, a young black boy, we see his and his family's frustration with society and the game and the stigma which affected fair rights and ...more
Kristi Bernard
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 1959 one team, The Boston Red Sox, hadn’t moved forward with racial equality until the fans and civil rights organizations became more vocal, with regards to change. When the Red Sox finally allowed Pumpsie Green to wear their uniform that was the best day ever for a young boy named Bernard.

Bernard loved watching baseball and loved going to Fenway park where the action was. He was waiting for the day that Pumpsie Green would play. Unfortunately, there were still people going to the games that
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This is a wonderful book. My family is divided (half Yankees fans and half Red Sox fans), and yet, no one seemed to mind that this story featured Pumpsie, a Red Sox player. He isn't one of the more famous, well-known Red Sox players, but he truly should be. This book gives careful insight into Pumpsie, his career, and his struggles, and readers will see layers of topics---even beyond baseball and equity. The illustrations and dialogue bring readers right to the stadium and field during the time ...more
One of my favorite things about picture books is how an author can take a relatively unknown subject and write a whole book about it--a short book, but still a book! This story focuses on the integration of the Boston Red Sox in 1959. They were the last team to integrate and the player who finally made the team was named Pumpsie Green. The story is told from the perspective of a young Black boy named Bernard. The historical significance of Pumpsie's place on the team is not lost on Bernard, who ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fictionalized account of one little boy and his family as they anxiously await Pumpsie, an African American baseball player, to be allowed to join the Red Sox's lineup. In a time of racial unrest in the United States, this was a feat to be accomplished, but the family doesn't lose faith. They experience racism from their white peers, but they persevere and still make an effort to support their team. The illustrations are rich and vibrant, and the story is uplifting at the end while ...more
Jess ORourke
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diversity
A historical fiction picture book about racial integration in baseball. I'm a modern baseball fan but I know little about the social history of the sport. When I thought about it (which i didn't often) I assumed Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and soon every team was integrated. I am embarrassed by my ignorance. Waiting for Pumpsie was as educational for me as it was for my 6 year old.
Brenda Kahn
I reiterate my earlier statement about learning so many interesting things from picture books. I did not know that the Red Sox were the last team in MLB to integrate (though my baseball fan son did). Bernard is a fictional Sox fan but all the facts about Pumpsie's debut are true. The illustrations are gorgeous. Great story to share with students.
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
A fabulous story about inclusion, history and family. It is one of those reads that both hits the heartstrings and teaches at the same time. It is heartfelt and sweet. A story to be savored and shared!
Danell Burney
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I'm a Red Sox can but this story makes me want to cheer for the Yankees!
Very disappointed in Red Sox management.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg-picture-book
To quote the author's note, this book is about more than baseball. "It's about moving toward equality and how sports can help change society for the better."

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