Becoming Joe DiMaggio

9780763624446_p0_v1_s260x420Becoming Joe DiMaggio
By Maria Testa
Published by Candlewick Press
Ages 10-14
Hardcover, Paperback

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Becoming Joe DiMaggio is wondrous in its heartfelt, sparse, home-run free-verse tribute to both a family’s love of baseball and one of the game’s greatest players.  —Lee Bennett Hopkins

“Joseph Paul,” Mama said out loud, loving the name from the beginning, accepting the promise.  It’s the summer of 1936.  The Yankees have a new center fielder whose name sounds like music, and Papa-Angelo has a new grandson, Joseph Paul, named for Joe DiMaggio.  Young Joseph Paul grows up, his ear to the radio, listening to the magical sound of a Joe DiMaggio hit, and learning the rules of the game at his grandfather’s knee.  He learns how to run fast and how to make life’s difficult plays.  He also learns how to dream: maybe someday he’ll grow up to be a hero like “Joltin’ Joe” DiMaggio.  Maybe someday he’ll even make his grandfather’s broken heart soar.

Resources
Discussion Guide (View & Download)

Awards & Accolades
• ALA Notable Book for Children
• New York Public Library Children’s Books: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
• International Reading Association Children’s Choices
• Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book
• Chicago Public Library Best Books for Children and Teens
• Maine Lupine Award Winner
• Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year
• Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) Poetry Pick
• Booklist Top Ten Sports Books for Youth

“A powerful, glowing, unforgettable achievement.”  —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With ineffable tenderness and absolute clarity, Testa tells a tail in blank verse about a boy named Joseph Paul after the great DiMaggio . . . Powerfully moving as it braids together baseball, family, and the Italian-American experience.”  —Booklist (starred review)

“In delicate, deceptively simple unrhymed verse Testa refashions the story of her father’s youth and, particularly, his close relationship with his Italian immigrant grandfather . . . Middle-schoolers who think they don’t like poetry might want to take a swing.”  —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This book is like one of those magic bags that hold so much more than physics allows. Your child may be surprised that in discussion it takes far longer to unpack all the layers of meaning and content than it did to read the book. That’s the power of poetry.”  —Matt Berman, Common Sense Review