Reviews for Queen of the Track : Alice Coachman: Olympic High-Jump Champion


Booklist Reviews 2012 June #1
Alice Coachman grew up in the segregated rural Georgia of the 1930s, where she took every opportunity to run and jump on dusty roads, even though her father said it wasn't ladylike. She was recruited to attend Tuskegee Institute; she missed home, but worked hard to cover her school expenses. At Tuskegee, she excelled in track and field, and although WWII caused the cancellation of the 1940 and 1944 Olympic Games, Alice kept training back at home and qualified for the 1948 London Olympics. At the games, she worked through pain to set a world record in the high jump and became the first African American woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal. Lang's descriptive text and Cooper's signature sepia-tone oil illustrations offer a rich, deep depiction of Coachman's determination to overcome obstacles. Pair with Ann Malaspina's Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper (2012) to enrich Olympic Games collections. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
From the hardships of her Georgia childhood through the 1948 London Olympics at which she won gold and became a legend, this biography stands out for the little-known details it includes (e.g., her dance performance aboard the London-bound ship). Cooper's grainy sepia-hued pastels are striking; endnotes with more about Coachman and the historic 1948 Olympics round out the thorough text. Websites. Bib.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 June

Gr 2-5--Coachman, the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal, was born in poverty in Georgia in 1922. She always loved to run and jump and would sneak off to do it even when it meant punishment. Lang brings her subject's early years to life through small details, like the fact that she ran so fast that she was able to deliver still-hot meals as a rescue worker in the aftermath of a 1940 tornado, and the difficulties of traveling to meets and events during segregation. The bulk of the story, though, focuses on Coachman's Olympic dreams, which were put on hold during World War II, when the games were canceled twice. Finally, in 1948, she traveled to war-weary London to compete and narrowly defeated her toughest opponent with a record-setting high jump. Cooper's pastels keep to a brown, grainy palette, recalling the Georgia dirt on which the track star ran as a child. While this book is a fine, if talky, introduction to an inspiring athlete, Ann Malespina's Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper (Albert Whitman, 2011), with its vivid prose-poem text and glowing oils by Eric Velasquez, might have more immediate appeal.--Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

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