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Excerpt: 'Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson'

I grabbed Christy's mittened hand and squeezed.
"What's wrong?" she whispered.
"I'm scared," I replied, as the reality suddenly dawned on me.
"My dad can't swim."

With stick in hand, Dad took a few steps forward in the frozen lake to test the ice. The ice crackled beneath his feet as he walked.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Dad took a few more steps forward.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Then suddenly,
A terrible noise roared from the river below...
"Dad!" I shrieked. I was sure the ice was going to open up and swallow him!
All the kids inched closer in disbelief, and waited for what seemed like forever...

"It was just an air bubble!" Dad called to us, as the sound moved down the lake.
Dad took a few more steps, tapping as he moved to the deepest part of the lake. He stopped, gave one last tap with his stick, then turned to us and called out,
"It's safe! Put on your skates!"

We cheered as loudly as we could, and we skated circles around Dad as he walked back onto solid ground. All I could think was:
My dad is the bravest man alive.

From Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson. Copyright 2009 by Sharon Robinson. Published by Scholastic Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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Sharon Robinson