After Jackie Robinson retired from Major League Baseball, he moved his family to Conneticuit. In the center of the family property is a lake where all the children would gather to play. This excerpt from Sharon Robinson's new book,"Testing the Ice: The True Story of Jackie Robinson," describes Robinson's first encounter with the lake.
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Testing the Ice
I grabbed Christy's mittened hand and squeezed.
"What's wrong?" she whispered.
"I'm scared," I replied, as the reality suddenly dawned on me.
"My dad can't swim."
With stick in hand, Dad took a few steps forward in the frozen lake to test the ice. The ice crackled beneath his feet as he walked.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Dad took a few more steps forward.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
A terrible noise roared from the river below ….
"Dad!" I shrieked. I was sure the ice was going to open up and swallow him!
All the kids inched closer in disbelief, and waited for what seemed like forever….
"It was just an air bubble!" Dad called to us, as the sound moved down the lake.
Dad took a few more steps, tapping as he moved to the deepest part of the lake. He stopped, gave one last tap with his stick, then turned to us and called out, "It's safe! Put on your skates!"
We cheered as loudly as we could, and we skated circles around Dad as he walked back onto solid ground. All I could think was: My dad is the bravest man alive.
Text and art from TESTING THE ICE: A TRUE STORY ABOUT JACKIE ROBINSON by Sharon Robinson, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Scholastic Inc./Scholastic Press. Text copyright © 2009 by Sharon Robinson, illustrations copyright © 2009 by Kadir Nelson. Used by permission.