Becoming Joe DiMaggio
Publication Date: February 1, 2002
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Spare, simple poems tell a boy’s moving story in this short novel about baseball, family, and the American dream.
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. After all, the boy’s ne’er-do-well father is out of the picture, and it is Papa-Angelo’s job to teach his grandson what it means to be a hero.
In a poignant novel told in verse, Maria Testa paints a picture of a timeless bond between a grandson and his immigrant grandfather - and of finding his own place in a brave new world.
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.
"BECOMING JOE DIMAGGIO is wondrous in its heartfelt, sparse, home-run, free verse tribute to both a family's love of baseball and one of the game's greatest players, "Joltin' Joe." Readers will long remember Testa's words long after the book has been read, long after games have been played."—award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins
— Lee Bennett Hopkins