Growing Up Pedro: The story of the Martinez Brothers Rise to Baseball Fame

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GROWING UP PEDRO. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Matt Tavares, Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Growing Up Pedro

•        Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary & Middle School (Ages 8-12)
•        Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book
•        Author/Illustrator: Matt Tavares
•        Publisher: Candlewick Press
•        Publication Date: February 10, 2015
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions: 10″ x 12″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 40 Pages
•        Retail: $16.99
•        ISBN: 978-0763668242

 An Improbable Rise to the Top

GrowingUpPedroInside1Growing Up Pedro tells the story of how two Martinez brothers rose to the top of their game, despite many obstacles. . .

Growing up poor in a big family in Manoguayabo in the Dominican Republic, Pedro Martinez loved baseball more than anything. As a very young boy, he watched his older brother, Ramon play with neighborhood kids, but was told he was too little to handle a hard ball. Ramon was the best child pitcher around town, and he looked out for his five younger siblings, including Pedro. On his own, Pedro practiced pitching by throwing rocks at ripe mangoes.

By the time Ramon was 16, the Los Angeles Dodgers offered him a contract paying him $5,000. For the Martinez family, that was a lot of money! Ramon could finally afford to buy Pedro his first baseball glove. Pedro tagged along with Ramon when he traveled to training camp, and kept on practicing. By the time he was sixteen, he too tried out for the Dodgers, and after 30 days, the Dodgers decided to give him a chance in the Minors. He was small and thin, so he started out as a relief pitcher, and oh what an excellent relief pitcher he was. Eventually he got traded to the Montreal Expos, and by 1997 he became the best pitcher in the National League, with a 97-MPH fast ball. He pitched to help the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004 and is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

GROWING UP PEDRO. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Matt Tavares, Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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GROWING UP PEDRO. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Matt Tavares, Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Outstanding Illustrations Bring to Life a Most Inspiring Story

Matt Tavares’ realistic watercolor and gouache paintings are outstanding in every way – from color to light and shadow – and the extra large two-page spreads make them breathtakingly beautiful; you’ll find yourself taking your time to linger on every page. The text is cleverly written in verses (non rhyming), making it easy to read and is well-crafted for the age of the audience, flowing well and keeping the reader’s attention. It’s easy to comprehend, yet is in no way condescending.

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GROWING UP PEDRO. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Matt Tavares, Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

What This Book Teaches

DSC_0002Growing Up Pedro teaches children that anything is possible with hard work and unfaltering determination, no matter what their background, opportunities or socioeconomic status. The Martinez brothers grew up very poor, but they always supported one another, and it was their passion and work ethic that made them superstar athletes. Readers learn that greatness takes time, and that despite overwhelming challenges, lofty goals can indeed be achieved. Pedro was considered too small and lightweight to pitch, he had to travel far away from his family to the US where he could not understand the language, he suffered from significant injuries, yet he pressed on until he could prove he was the best of the best. I appreciate the way the book weaves culture into the story too, as it begins in the Dominican Republic and delves into the cultural adjustments the brothers had to make in America.

Be sure to read the Author’s Note and Pedro’s stats in the back of the book.

GROWING UP PEDRO. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Matt Tavares, Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Why You Should Read This Book

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GROWING UP PEDRO. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Matt Tavares, Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Any child who loves baseball or a feel-good story about achievements in professional sports will thoroughly enjoy Growing Up Pedro. In fact, if you have a child who is a reluctant or struggling reader, that child will likely find this subject to be so riveting, he or she will be fascinated enough to read about it. The way it is written makes it ideal for reading out loud too. Author Matt Tavares demonstrates the closeness of the Martinez family and the generosity of Pedro and Ramon to each other, their family members and the people of their country. The story is uplifting and awe-inspiring, and it presents Ramon and Pedro Martinez as the phenomenal role models they truly are.

About the Author

tavaresauthorphotoMatt Tavares has always been interested in baseball. He is the author-illustrator of Henry Aaron’s Dream, There Goes Ted Williams, and Becoming Babe Ruth as well as Zachary’s Ball, Oliver’s Game, and Mudball. He is also the illustrator of Doreen Rappaport’s Lady Liberty and Alicia Potter’s Jubilee!, among others. Matt Tavares lives in Ogunquit, Maine.

Further Learning

1. Download the Teacher’s Guide.

2. Find Manoguayabo, Santo Domingo in the Dominical Republic on a map.

3. Watch the Growing Up Pedro Book Trailer

4. Watch Five Questions (Plus One) with Matt Tavares:

1 Thought.

  1. Pingback: Interview with Author/Illustrator Matt TavaresSmart Books for Smart Kids

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