Growing Up Pedro
Written and Illustrated by Matt Tavares
More than Pedro’s story, this is the story of two brothers and how they helped each other become two of the best pitchers in the major leagues. As a child, Pedro always looked up to his older brother, Ramón. Pedro wanted to play baseball with Ramón and his friends, but Ramón didn’t want Pedro to get hurt. Instead, the older brother instructed the younger brother to throw rocks at the ripe mangoes on the trees. A scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers spots sixteen-year-old Ramón on the Dominican national team and watches him at training camp. At seventeen, Ramón paves the way by reporting to the Dodgers. At every turn, he shares what he learns with Pedro, who takes his advice to heart. Pedro works on English as well as his fast ball. In 1990, Pedro is also drafted to the Dodgers. Ramón is still the pitching star of the family. The brothers work together on the major league team for little more than a season before Pedro is traded to Montreal in 1994. By 1996, Pedro has proven himself and starts pitching for the Boston Red Sox. He leads Boston to many great seasons. Meanwhile, he helps his family back in the Dominican Republic and also helps build up the village where he grew up. The illustrations are lively and realistic, with a definite feel for being at the ballpark.
All third graders will find the story heart-warming, helping them to work on literacy skills and comprehension. They will also learn something of recent history and about math with baseball statistics. This book is well-researched and well-told.
As a Baltimore Orioles fan, this almost made me like Pedro.