Charlie Takes His Shot: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf

illus. by John Joven. 32p. chron. Albert Whitman. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807511282.
Gr 1–3—Churnin details the life of Charlie Sifford, the first black man to compete in the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA).The narrative opens with a young Sifford playing a game of golf by himself at night ("If anyone saw him, he'd be in trouble"), before detailing Sifford's life as a caddie and how segregation forbid him from entering PGA tournaments. Inspired by a meeting with Jackie Robinson (who "didn't quit or lose his temper" when faced with racism), and with the help of lawyer Stanley Mosk, Sifford would eventually win a discrimination case against the PGA in 1960. The overturning of the PGA's Caucasians-Only clause allowed Sifford to go on to win the Greater Hartford Open in 1967, the Los Angeles open in 1969, and the Senior PGA Championship in 1975 to become known as the "Jackie Robinson of golf." Churnin provides a thoughtful overview of discrimination and how it impacted the world of sports through the 1960s. The illustrations are colorful and their size and placement vary throughout the story, providing a more dynamic reading experience and breaking up larger blocks of text. The characters especially come to life on the page with a range of expressions and emotions conveyed through the art.
VERDICT A worthwhile addition to school libraries looking for sports-related picture book biographies.

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