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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

Accessibility Information

Visit the carle


Past Exhibitions

Kadir Nelson

IN THE East Gallery

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

"We are the ship; all else the sea." —Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League
On view in the Museum’s East Gallery from February 7 until June 10, 2012 will be thirty-three paintings, thirteen sketches and educational materials from the book, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, by Kadir Nelson, award-winning artist and author. Nelson spent seven years researching, writing, and creating handsome paintings to be included in the brilliantly illustrated book, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, which is dedicated to the preservation of the history of Negro Leagues. During the process of creating the paintings and the book, Nelson interviewed former Negro League players, traveled to museums around the country, pored over old photographs, firsthand testimonies and documentaries, collected baseball memorabilia, sports equipment and uniforms, then posed and photographed himself in them, all with the intention of putting himself in the shoes of a former Negro League player to recreate an authentic depiction of life in the Negro Leagues. This exhibition is the story of the Negro Leagues—the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball. The New York Times named We Are the Ship one of the Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2008, and Kadir was honored with the 2009 Coretta Scott King Book Award for this work.

Click here for events and programming related to this exhibition. 

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Tour Management by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, Kansas City, Missouri

IN THE Central Gallery

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson

Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, an educational consultant for Major League Baseball and vice chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and illustrated by the award-winning Kadir Nelson, is a story about her father, baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The original art for the book as well as numerous preliminary sketches will be on view in the Museum’s Central Gallery from December 13, 2011 until May 6, 2012. It will complement the art, also by Nelson, for We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, which will be in the East Gallery from February 7 until June 10, 2012.

On April 15, 1947, Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African-American man to play in major league baseball. In 1962, he became the first African-American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But this is not that story. Daughter Sharon Robinson's story is about an incident that happened in her family after her father retired from baseball. There was a pond behind the house in Stamford Connecticut where the Robinson family moved in 1955. The children wanted to ice skate, and Jackie wanted to be sure the ice was thick enough. One of the very few things he couldn’t do was swim, but that didn’t deter him from making sure his children and their friends would be safe. He went out on the ice, knowing it could have dire consequences. This selfless act illustrates his bravery in his personal life rather than his professional life.
"He was brave when he went out on the ice and he was brave when he went on the baseball field," Nelson said. "My role is really like a documentarian and an author. I shed light on pieces of history that don't always get as much attention as they deserve." In an interview about the book, Nelson said, "You don't want to say something that has already been said; you want to add something to the story."


by Sharon Robinson, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
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