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The Stone Thrower

Written by Jael Ealey Richardson

Illustrated by Matt James

  • 32 Pages
  • 9781554987528
  • 9" x 10"
  • from grade P to grade 4
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / People of Color
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / United States / African-American
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Sports & Recreation / Football



Publication Date May 01, 2016

The African-American football player Chuck Ealey grew up in a segregated neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio. Against all odds, he became an incredible quarterback. But despite his unbeaten record in high school and university, he would never play professional football in the United States.

Chuck Ealey grew up poor in a racially segregated community that was divided from the rest of town by a set of train tracks, but his mother assured him that he wouldn’t stay in Portsmouth forever. Education was the way out, and a football scholarship was the way to pay for that education. So despite the racist taunts he faced at all the games he played in high school, Chuck maintained a remarkable level of dedication and determination. And when discrimination followed him to university and beyond, Chuck Ealey remained undefeated.

This inspirational story is told by Chuck Ealey’s daughter, author and educator Jael Richardson, with striking and powerful illustrations by award-winning illustrator Matt James.

Selected for the CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens 2016

Selected for the CBC Best Books of 2016 2016

Selected for the Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices List 2017

Short-listed for the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award 2016


Jael Ealey Richardson

Jael Ealey Richardson is the author of The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life, a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The book received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award. Excerpts from her first play, my upside down black face, are published in the anthology T-Dot Griots. Richardson has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She lives in Brampton where she serves as the Artistic Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

Matt James

Matt James is a noted painter, illustrator and musician. His books have won many awards, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (I Know Here, written by Laurel Croza) and the Governor-General’s Award for Children’s Illustration (Northwest Passage). Matt lives in Toronto.


"An excellent addition for sports fans and a great vehicle to spark conversation." School Library Journal, review

"The Stone Thrower is a story of grit, visual and inspirational, in its truest form." CanLit for LittleCanadians

". . . an inspirational true-life tale that will resonate with dreamers big and small." Quill & Quire