Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Matt Tavares
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Many children dream of becoming a famous musician, dancer, Olympic gymnast, or a professional athlete. Few actually see their dreams become a reality even after years of lessons, meets, recitals, and games. Brothers Ramon and Pedro Martinez, poor boys in the Dominican Republic, dream of becoming famous big league baseball players. As Ramon leaves his homeland to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, young Pedro remains at home with his desire to follow his older brother into a baseball career. He practices every day with the baseball glove his brother bought for him and he works hard to learn to speak English. He is becoming a very good pitcher, better than anyone else in his country, but Pedro is much smaller and skinnier than his brother Ramon. People wonder if he is big and strong enough to pitch in the big leagues.
Matt Tavares, author and artist, wrote and illustrated his first book for a thesis project in college. Growing Up Pedro is his sixteenth published work and one that has garnered many prestigious awards. Not only is the true story well-presented and inspiring, his gouache, watercolor, and pencil illustrations make the story come alive. Tavares researched the book by traveling to the Dominican Republic. He has beautifully captured the bright tropical skies and lush vegetation found there as well as the poor circumstances of Pedro’s neighborhood and has contrasted this with the crowds and bright lights of professional baseball. Tavares recounts an amazing story of brotherly love and support, and making your dreams a reality. This book is suitable for all ages but especially for young aspiring athletes.