Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Teammates

                                         Book Cover

  Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play major league baseball.  Teammates, by Peter Golenbock, not only chronicles the struggles Robinson endured in his pioneering position, it also describes the unfair treatment black Americans experienced during the era of legal segregation in the United States.   The illustrations are an effective combination of historic photographs and original drawings by Paul Bacon.  The story’s final episode, between teammates Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, both men of character, is a wonderful  demonstration of the power of acceptance.


  Teammates demonstrates that individuals’ actions can have historical impact that improves the lives of other Americans (VA SOL 2.12).  This book can also be used to discuss the relationship between good citizenship and respecting and protecting the rights of others (VA SOL 2.10, 2.12, 310, 3.12).

Additional Resources

  • Read an interview with Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, (conducted live in 1998 from student questions) for a personal perspective on Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy.
  • Use Teammates to connect civics to reading instruction in this lesson plan for guided comprehension from ReadWriteThink.org.  An anticipation guide and reflection sheet are included.
  • Students can color this printable picture of Jackie Robinson that includes a brief biography.

Author:  Peter Golenbock
Illustrator: Paul Bacon
Publisher:  Voyager Books, Harcourt, Inc.
Publication Date: Reissue in March, 2010; originally in March, 1990.
Pages: 32
Grade Range: 2-5
ISBN-13: 9780152842864

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