Call Me Roberto! By Nathalie Alonso; Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

Call Me Roberto!

Roberto Clemente Goes to Bat for Latinos


Published by (2024-08-27)

Here is the inspirational story of Major League Baseball player Roberto Clemente—not Bob—who endured years of racism and discrimination to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Roberto Clemente always loved baseball. Growing up in Carolina, Puerto Rico, he swung tree branches (since he didn’t have a bat) and hit tin cans. He was always batting, pitching, running, sliding. His dedication paid off when, at the age of 19, he was tapped for a major league team. First stop: chilly Montreal . . . where he warmed the bench and himself, longing to play baseball. Months later, he finally got his chance with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente had an instant impact on the field—hitting the ball and making it to first base and finally home. Many Pittsburgh fans loved his bold style on the field, but not everyone was quick to embrace a Black man from Puerto Rico who spoke español.

This nonfiction picture book by journalist Nathalie Alonso and award-winning illustrator Rudy Gutierrez shows the emotional highs and lows of Roberto Clemente’s career as he fought racism—from fans, reporters, and other figures in the sport—to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. With English and Spanish words intermingled in the text, this book will inspire young readers as they learn about Clemente’s contributions to Black, Latino, and American history.

Book Details

Format: eBook
Price: 11.99 USD / 15.99 CAD
Published: 2024-08-27
ISBN: 9781635928129
Page Count: 40
Trim Size: 9 x 11

★ "The triumphant picture book biography skillfully weaves an underdog sports story with political context, prioritizing Roberto’s love of the game while also exploring how white supremacy played into his professional and personal life. Gutierrez’s celebratory art is a riot of movement and color, with fluid lines and painterly swoops zinging through the saturated pages; patterned but balanced backgrounds create a contained energy that matches Roberto’s exuberant but disciplined approach to the game. His tragic death on one of his many humanitarian trips is detailed in the backmatter, but overall, Alonso, a career sports journalist, gives readers a joyful, affectionate portrayal of a sports hero told with the reverence of a true fan." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"Admiring biographies of the great baseball player and humanitarian for younger readers abound, but here sports journalist Alonso takes a different angle...Though she covers on-field highlights up to his three-thousandth hit, it’s Clemente’s insistent identity as a Latin American in the face of jeering references to his accent in the press and efforts to rename him “Bob”—not to mention poor treatment on the road due to Jim Crow laws—that to her (and many Latine ball players since) make him an inspirational figure. 'Bold style' is a good way to characterize Gutierrez’s illustrations, too, as the sports star swats powerfully, runs bases, and makes catches in sinuous blurs of action or off-the-field poses within intricately interwoven frames and strong, swirling backdrops." —Booklist