Becoming Joe DiMaggio by Maria Testa

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"With ineffable tenderness and absolute clarity, Testa tells a tale in blank verse. . . . Powerfully moving as it braids together baseball, family, and the Italian-American experience." —BOOKLIST (starred review)

It's 1936, and the Yankees have just hired a star center fielder whose name sounds like music. What could be a better time for Papa-Angelo's grandson to be born? Christened after the legendary ballplayer, young Joseph Paul learns much at his Italian grandfather's knee — about holding your breath in front of the radio during a 3-2 count with the bases loaded and having the audacity to dream big dreams. "Each poem is a perfect, gripping chapter," says KIRKUS RIVIEWS in a starred review of this novel in verse, which honors the timeless bond between a grandson and his immigrant grandfather — and the process of finding one's own place in a brave new world.

About Maria Testa

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Maria Testa received a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Work-in-Progress Grant for BECOMING JOE DIMAGGIO, a poetic novel inspired by family stories. She has written three picture books for children and a collection of short stories for young adults. She is also the author of another novel about baseball, SOME KIND OF PRIDE, which was awarded the Marguerite De Angeli Prize for a first middle-grade novel. Maria Testa grew up in Rhode Island and now lives on the coast of Maine with her family. Scott A. Hunt is one of the few writers in the world to have gained access to the exceptional group of peacemakers interviewed in this book. He is a graduate of Harvard University, where he studied government, specializing in political philosophy. He has written for a wide array of magazines and is currently teaching Buddhism at the University of California, Berkeley's continuing education program.
Published February 3, 2005 by Candlewick. 64 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Becoming Joe DiMaggio

Kirkus Reviews

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At war’s end, DiMaggio returns from the army, hitting a homerun in his first game, bringing forth “a sigh of relief so pure and loud you would have thought the whole world had finally remembered how to breathe.” Joseph identifies with DiMaggio and everything he stands for in reality and in his im...

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Publishers Weekly

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The author's 24 vignettes, in verse, introduce a young baseball player born in 1936.

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Publishers Weekly

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His maternal grandfather Papa-Angelo, who helps raise Joseph Paul while his father is serving time, gives the boy his name (after Joe DiMaggio), his passion for baseball and the handmade chair on which Joseph sits alongside the kind man, listening to broadcasts of DiMaggio's triumphs on the field.

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Common Sense Media

It's astounding how much is hinted at and filled in in the reader's mind: the grandfather's difficult immigrant life and hopes for his son and then his grandson, the violent father's brushes with the law, the mother's trials in raising the family with and without him, the giftedness of the grands...

Jun 23 2004 | Read Full Review of Becoming Joe DiMaggio

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