Reviews for Hank Aaron, Brave in Every Way : Brave in Every Way
Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 February 2001
Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. This attractive addition to a growing list of illustrated sports biographies details the life of Hank Aaron, with emphasis on his run to break Babe Ruth's home-run record. The book traces Aaron's humble beginnings, enriched by his parents' encouragement. After Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, Aaron's dream of playing major-league baseball became a reality. Aaron's powerful hitting led him to set the goal of breaking Ruth's record, and when the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, he hit more homers than ever. But many people resented Aaron's attempt because of his color, and he began to get angry letters, even death threats. In 1973, the press began doing stories about the hate mail. In response, fans began sending Aaron encouraging letters, and by the time he broke the record, he had received almost a million letters of support. The uplifting text is matched by Lee's muscular artwork. Together, pictures and text capture the excitement, determination, and impressive victory of Aaron's accomplishment. Use this winning book as start for discussion about racism in America. ((Reviewed February 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Fall
Golenbock describes the paradoxical experience of Hank Aaron, the baseball star who broke Babe Ruth's lifetime home-run record but endured numerous threats to his life as he pursued his goal. An especially good cover portrait and many effective oil paintings extend the well-synthesized telling and underscore the variety of emotions explored in the text. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2001 March #1
The veteran sportswriter, whom readers will remember from his affecting story of Jackie Robinson and PeeWee Reese (Teammates, 1990), takes the real-life tale of baseball slugger Hank Aaron and fashions it into a fable of hope, endurance, and faith. Aaron's father wished him the joy of baseball, and his mother wanted him to make a difference in the world. A childhood of grinding poverty included both schoolwork and baseball, and by the time he was 16, a local team wanted him and the color line had been broken in the majors. Aaron joined the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 as a powerful home-run hitter. When he began to close in on Babe Ruth's record of 714 homers, he also began to get nasty letters. Two of the most powerful illustrations in Lee's muscular acrylics are of Aaron standing before a wall of ugly hate mail and swinging in front of a looming image of the Babe. The art is made in the sunny, saturated colors of baseball cards, and the one of Aaron at full extension tossing the bat away as he heads for first is as pretty a piece of baseball art as can be imagined. Aaron did break Ruth's record, he did receive an outpouring of support, and his mom was there in 1974 when he hit #715. Pair this for the perfect spring story hour with Lesa Cline-Ransome's Satchel Paige (not reviewed) and Elisha Cooper's Ballpark (1998). (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Copyright 2001 Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 April #2
This picture book biography of one of baseball's greats inspires as well as informs. Golenbock (Teammates) deftly winnows his material to suit his audience, keeping the story line focused and lean while allowing the theme perseverance in the face of obstacles to shine through. As the author tells it, Aaron is born during the Depression and grows up in a poor but loving family. His father teaches him "the joy of playing baseball in open grassy fields," while his mother stresses determination ("Set goals for yourself and don't let anyone stop you from achieving them"). Young Hank dreams of playing in the major leagues (which excluded black players until the year he turned 13). In time, his talent and drive take him to stardom with the Milwaukee Braves, where he sets a new goal for himself, to break the career home run record of Babe Ruth, "baseball's most beloved hero." Receiving hate mail and death threats, Aaron becomes even more determined, and breaks the record at the beginning of the 1974 season (with the now Atlanta-based Braves). Golenbock's prose is straightforward but full of drama and poignancy, qualities reflected in the quiet dignity of Lee's (The Good Luck Cat) spare, muted acrylic portraits, which transcend mere athleticism to capture the essential humanity of this compelling tale. Ages 6-9. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 February #1
"This picture book biography of one of baseball's greats inspires as well as informs. The spare, muted acrylic portraits transcend mere athleticism to capture the essential humanity of this compelling tale," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 6-9. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2001 August
Gr 1-3-This richly illustrated biography tells the story of the Hall of Famer by placing him in the proper historical context and attempting to humanize him. Aaron, a southern country boy, followed his dreams under the strict, but loving guidance of his parents. Despite his mother's wish that he attend college, hetook a job on a professional team and rose quickly to the top as a home-run hitter. However, with racial tensions at an all-time high in the United States, his journey was not without problems. Hate mail and threats began to chip away at his hopes for success, until Aaron's adoring fans helped keep his dream alive. What Golenbock does well is capture the feel of 1960s' America, swelling with civil-rights tension. He deftly tells the athlete's story and proves that his subject certainly was "bravein every way." At times the narrative is a bit slow and the style is dry. Still, this baseball giant is brought down to earth as readers learn of his humble past and his personal struggles. Lee's strong, full-page acrylic illustrations in rich tones and textures work well and give the story depth and intensity.-Holly T. Sneeringer, St. Mark School, Baltimore, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.