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PLAYING TO WIN by Karen Deans

PLAYING TO WIN

The Story of Althea Gibson

By Karen Deans (Author) , Elbrite Brown (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8234-1926-5
Publisher: Holiday House

Powerful mixed-media illustrations depict the life and career of tennis great Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win at Wimbledon. Hard times in Gibson’s youth separated her from her family and moved her around, setting the stage for a troubled, rebellious childhood, one that turned around when a family friend recognized her athletic talent and directed her toward tennis. Deans clearly puts Gibson’s career into its historical context, her discomfort with segregated buses leading to her determination to move beyond the black tennis world into the United States Lawn Tennis Association (now the USTA) and further. Gibson’s missteps both academically and athletically receive mention, lending depth to the scale of her eventual victories. Steptoe Award–winner Brown uses perspective and color to amplify emotion, occasionally replicating Gibson’s graceful form as she moves across the court and adding swirls of crayon to lend energy and movement to his compositions. Sunny yellow backgrounds accompany Gibson as she plays her way to victory over obstacles both social and personal, rounding out the portrait of this groundbreaking winner. The backmatter includes a brief author’s note, time line, bibliography and websites. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)