AMERICA'S CHAMPION SWIMMER

GERTRUDE EDERLE

The author and illustrator (The Babe & I, 1999, Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man, 1997) team up for a third time in this engaging picture book biography of the first woman to swim the English Channel. Gertrude Ederle, born in 1906, learned to swim at age seven when, after falling into a pond and nearly drowning, her father decided that teaching his daughter to swim was essential. It immediately became apparent that Trudy had a great talent—she won her first big race at 15, swam from lower Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey at 16 (breaking the men’s record along the way), and won three medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics. In 1925, Trudy made her first, albeit unsuccessful, attempt to swim the English Channel and in 1926, on her second attempt, she became the first woman to successfully swim the 20-odd mile body of water. David Adler clearly places this biography in its cultural context, reminding the reader that women and girls were expected to stay at home in this era and were excluded from many activities. Women were deemed the weaker sex and to challenge this notion, especially in the world of sport, took exceptional courage and unusual determination. The stylized illustrations successfully evoke the period of the 1920s. A wide range of beautiful blues, greens, and grays depicts the various forms of water—ocean, pool, pond—and seem thickly applied, deliberately contrasting with the flatness of the human figures. A welcome addition to the growing body of works about female athletes. (Picture book/biography. 59)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-201969-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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