Booktalks

Safe at Home Booktalk

  • Grades: 3–5

Jumper knew it was going to be the worst summer of his life. After his dad’s sudden death, his mom decided to move the two of them back to Harlem to live with his grandmother. Jumper loved his grandmother, but he hated living in Harlem. He didn’t fit in, didn’t have any friends, and his mom had signed him up for a baseball day camp. Jumper’s game was b-ball, not baseball. He couldn’t hit, he couldn’t throw, he couldn’t catch. Hoops was his thing. But basketball camp was full, so Jumper ha to settle for baseball. And from the first day, he knew he’d made a huge mistake. Marcus, a kid Jumper had met at a video arcade, turned out to be one of the team captains, and he and his posse were out to make Jumper’s life miserable. As far as they were concerned, Jumper couldn’t do anything right.

And nothing much was going right at home, either. It was almost like he’d lost both his parents, cause his mom was quiet and sad and hardly ever talked to him. But neither she nor his grandmother was going to let him quit baseball camp. His dad had loved baseball, hated quitters, and Jumper was playing with his old high school glove. Somehow, in spite of Marcus and his friends, Jumper had to make it through camp. For his mom, his grandmother, his dad, and maybe even for himself. But when he made one mistake after another, a Harlem baseball diamond was the last place he wanted to be.

Jumper had a lot to do this summer—figure out what to do about Marcus, control his pitching, help his mom and grandmother, and find a way to make Harlem feel like a place where he could be safe at home.

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