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Roberto Clemente

‘Call me Roberto!’ is the children’s book of the summer

Children's book on Roberto Clemente inspires

The best children’s book of this baseball season is definitely “Call Me Roberto! Roberto Clemente Goes to bat for Latinos.” Call Me Roberto is a picture book that chronicles the baseball career of Hall of Fame legend Roberto Clemente. 

The book by author Nathalie Alonso covers the racism that Roberto Clemente experienced, making it easy for little kids to understand the racism and social injustice he faced. Throughout the story, readers follow Clemente throughout his career: from the time he was found by a scout in Puerto Rico to Clemente becoming the first Spanish-speaking World Series MVP. 

The illustrations are impressive. Illustrator Rudy Gutierrez made the story complete. His art not only represents the life of Pittsburgh Pirates legend, but it also captures the culture of Clemente’s beloved Puerto Rico. 

Passion oozes in ‘Call me Roberto’

As readers continue through the story, it is noticeable how much time  Alonso put into the story. Readers could feel Alonso’s and Clemente’s passion popping out of the pages. 

The book, which is published by Calkins Creek, can be purchased in English and Spanish editions. By printing the book in two languages, it is easy for all children to learn the history of one of the most influential baseball players of all time. 

In the English version, they add a few Spanish words, including orgulloso (proud), tambores (drums) and pitos (whistles). If children didn’t understand those words, no worries, because the author included a dictionary in the back.


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The dictionary/glossary wasn’t the only fun surprise in the back of the book. Alonso also included a timeline of Clemente’s life and pictures of Clemente during his career. 

“Call me Clemente!” is perfect for a younger child, but it is equally as enjoyable for an adult to read. If a reader bought the book knowing nothing about Clemente, they would be pleasantly surprised to see how much they learned in just a few short pages.

I would have loved seeing an extra page or two that followed Clemente as he was being scouted by the Dodgers and how he ended up with the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Roberto Clemente story for all

The author’s note is equally as good as the whole story, and it needs to be read. Alonso, a Cuban American journalist based in New York, expands on why she wrote the story about Clemente and the impact he has had on her and many Latin Americans. 

“My job has allowed me to write plenty about Roberto Clemente,” Alonso said. “But I believe the lessons from his life are most powerful in the hands of young people.

“That’s why I wrote, ‘Call me Roberto!’ so brilliantly illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez. Engaging with Roberto’s legacy has been an important part of my own journey to realizing that success comes when I lean, fully and unapologetically, into who I am.”

The book will be sold on Amazon on Aug. 27 for $18.99. It is well worth the money and a great book to buy for a baseball-loving family or aspiring baseball player.

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