Testing the Ice

Author:  Sharon Robinson
Illustrator:  Kadir Nelson

6a00d834518cc969e2012875bf8537970c-800wiJackie Robinson is known for breaking the color barrier in  Major League Baseball.   His daughter, Sharon, honors her father’s memory as she weaves a tender metaphor of his life.  She shares the dramatic story of the family’s first winter in Connecticut.  The lake the kids swam in during the summer was now freezing over and Sharon, her brothers, and the neighbor children were all excited about ice skating, but someone must test the ice depth for safety.

As we lined up along the lake’s edge, Dad eased onto the snow-covered ice. 

The ice crackled beneath his feet.  Before he placed one big foot in front of the other, he tapped the ice with his broomstick, testing it for weaknesses or cracks. Tap, tap, tap.

Only when Jackie is sure that he has tested for any danger, does he turn and announce to the children that it is safe for them to proceed.

On other occasions, the children question Jackie about his historic entry into Major League Baseball, about his trophies, numerous plaques, and awards.  Wide-eyed, they listen to the stories of the difficult early years for a black player breaking into the sport.   No one knew what would happen,  just as when he ventured out onto the ice. But he felt his way along an untried and unknown path – like a blind man tapping for clues.  Jackie Robinson – one of America’s finest heroes.

Mary Byrne Kline

1.  How is the title “Testing the Ice” a metaphor?
2.  Why didn’t Jackie ever go into the water?
3.  What Major League team did Jackie Robinson play for?





Share your thoughts...