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Children’s author Robinson to speak at Florida Literacy Conference next week

By Staff | Apr 28, 2010

"Testing The Ice," Sharon Robinson's latest children's book, shares stories about the author's father, his bravery and overcoming obstacles.

In sports, just as in life, when you put together a proven roster comprised of exceptional talents who are driven in the most positive manner, that team is bound to become a winner.

Such is the case with The Florida Literacy Coalition, who recently teamed up with author and motivational speaker Sharon Robinson. Next week, Robinson will appear at the 2010 Florida Literacy Conference, being held May 5-7 at South Seas Island Resort, where she will speak during the FLC’s annual awards banquet.

“This is actually the first project I’m involved in with the Florida Literacy Coalition,” Robinson, the daughter of baseball legend and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson, said on Monday. “They called me last year to come to their conference, but I already had another event to attend. So this year, they called me well in advance.”

Robinson is the author of many works of fiction and non-fiction. She has written several widely praised books about her father, including “Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values To Live By,” “Promises To Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America,” and her most recent picture book, “Testing The Ice.”

“In my first book, ‘Jackie’s Nine,’ I wanted to teach kids about overcoming obstacles,” she said. “Each chapter focuses on a different value – courage, determination, integrity – with some of the stories from my father’s autobiography and my own life.”

Sharon Robinson, the daughter of baseball legend and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson, will speak at the 2010 Florida Literacy Conference, coming next week to South Seas Island Resort.

In addition to her writing career, Robinson is an educational consultant for Major League Baseball. She oversees school and community-based educational programs, including “Breaking Barriers, In Sports, In Life,” a national character education program designed to empower students with strategies to help them face obstacles in their lives. The message is delivered by examining the values demonstrated in the lives of Jackie Robinson and many of today’s baseball stars. Since its inception in 1997, “Breaking Barriers” has reached more than 14 million children across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

“We are so honored to have Sharon joining us,” said Gregory Smith, Executive Director for The Florida Literacy Coalition. “She is a prolific author in her own right, and her ability to share stories about her father’s struggles and triumphs is incredible. I’m looking forward to her speaking at the conference, which I’m sure will be very inspirational.”

Established in 1985, The Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) promotes, supports and advocates for the effective delivery of quality adult and family literacy services in the state of Florida.

As a statewide umbrella literacy organization and the host of Florida’s State Literacy Resource Center, FLC provides a range of services to support more than 300 adult education, literacy and family literacy providers throughout Florida. Special emphasis is placed on assisting community based literacy organizations with their training and program development needs.

“We are a non-profit whose focus is supporting adult education and family literacy programs,” Smith added. “The Florida Literacy Coalition works with adults to develop better literacy skills and to become proficient in English.”

"Promises To Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America" is Robinson's tribute to her father, including inspirational stories of the man who broke baseball's color barrier.

Smith, leader of the FLC for the past seven years, is looking forward to bringing the organization’s annual conference to Captiva Island next week.

“Our conference is the biggest project we do every year, which brings together more than 500 teachers, tudor and volunteers,” he said. “We try to bring this event to various areas of the state, and since we hadn’t been to Southwest Florida in a number of years, we chose South Seas Island Resort. They gave us a great deal, and I’m looking forward to arriving next week.”

Robinson, who before becoming an author had a 20-year career as a nurse-midwife and educator at such prestigious universities as Yale, Columbia, Howard and Georgetown, is also busy preparing her next picture book. “Jackie’s Gift,” due out in October 2010, tells the story about her parents moving into a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn in late 1948.

“It’s a story about two cultures and two families coming together, and a friendship that has lasted more than 60 years,” she added.

A resident of Apollo Beach, Fla. and New York City, Robinson is Vice Chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and serves on the boards for the Roberto Clemente Sports City Complex in Carolina, Puerto Rico, The Metropolitan Opera and Urban America. She, too, is looking forward to visiting the islands.

“I brought my mother (Rachel) to Captiva three years ago,” she recalled. “I used to live in the Caribbean, and spending time on Captiva was the closest thing I’ve seen in Florida to that. It’s an enchanting place, a wonderful small-town community.”

The 26th Annual Florida Literacy Conference – themed “Open Books, Open Minds” – opens on Wednesday, May 5 at South Seas Island Resort. Robinson will speak at the State Literacy Awards Banquet, scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For additional information, visit www.floridaliteracy.org.