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

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  63 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
As this year’s Olympics draw near in Rio de Janeiro, athletes from around the world are training hard to overcome the competition, just as Alice Coachman did for the 1948 Olympics in London. This inspirational nonfiction book by Heather Lang is a story of perseverance and unwavering ambition that follows Coachman on her journey from rural Georgia, where she overcame advers ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2012 by Boyds Mill Press
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Sep 28, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it
A beautifully illustrated book about Alice Coachman, the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal (in high jump). Floyd Cooper's pastel drawings have warm earth tones, on brown paper, and a luminous glow. The text is for older readers, with many details left out of shorter versions such as Touch the Sky. (I was particularly intrigued by the time she volunteered as a rescue runner after a 1940 tornado struck her hometown; "she moved so fast, she could deliver food while it was st ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
Alice Coachman loved to run and jump. Trouble was, in the 1930’s it was not considered ladylike or useful for a young African-American girl to spend time on athletics. Lang’s biography explores the racism, sexism and poverty that should have kept Alice Coachman’s feet on the ground and the guts and determination that propelled her become the first African American female gold medal winner at the 1948 Summer Olympics in post-war London. Perfectly timed for children interested by this summer’s gam ...more
Jul 23, 2014 June rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: atheletes and African American biography requests
Recommended to June by: facebook?
A wonderful introduction to the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. At a time when girls where discouraged from running and jumping Alice Coachman soared and paved the way for Wilma Rudolph and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Also contains an interesting afterword about how London hosted the games with less than 2 years to prepare, after WW II, while the streets were covered with bomb debris and there were still shortages of food, clothing and gasoline. Switzerland donated gymnastic ...more
Can you name the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal?
It was high-jumper Alice Coachman, as I learned from this well told and softly illustrated picture book biography. Coachman overcame racism, poverty, restrictive gender roles and tough athletic competition to achieve her dream.
This book has interesting historical connections, not only to segregation in the Unite States, but also to WWII. The back matter includes a section on how the 1948 Olympics managed to be pulled off
Sharon Lawler
May 10, 2013 Sharon Lawler rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-biography, sports
Inspiring story about a little girl from Albany, Georgia, who rose above poverty, discrimination and segregation to attend Tuskegee Institute High school on a track scholarship, and ultimately become the first African American woman to win an Olympic medal. Gorgeous pastel illustrations compliment the text. Alice Coachman said it best:" When the going gets tough and you feel like throwing your hands in the air, listen to that voice that tells you, 'Keep going. Hang in there.' Guts and determinat ...more
Jan 04, 2016 Violet rated it it was amazing
I read this book to two sets of 4th grade students to showcase what a biography is. (I'm a substitute teacher.) I didn't know Alice Coachman existed until I read this book to them, and I think it's an inspiring story of persistence and determination. My first set of students particularly enjoyed the story. I think it was an important read because the majority of my students today were African-American. It's a great story to read for all kids (but particularly minority kids) to show them that fol ...more
Feb 28, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing
Alice Coachman was the first African American woman to win a gold medal in the Olympics in 1948. That's quite an accomplishment in it's own right. Knowing that she dealt with sexism, poverty and racism along the way make's her achievement even more extraordinary.
Debby Baumgartner
Picturebook biography of an Olympic star that could not compete in the Olympics still after World War II ended. A short biography of a woman African American that gives a glimpse into the south before civil rights.
Brenda Kahn
Oct 04, 2012 Brenda Kahn rated it really liked it
Wonderful picture book biography of the first African-American woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal. This was a fact I did not know. Beautifully illustrated by Floyd Cooper.
Feb 25, 2013 Alice rated it liked it
fascinating story
Jan 28, 2013 Lindsay rated it really liked it
The amazing story of the first African American woman to become a gold medalist. A great early elementary bio.
Edward Sullivan
Inspiring story of athlete from humble circumstances.
Nov 29, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
Interesting that two books about Alice have been published this year. I wish we could get a longer bio!!
Peggy Hess Greenawalt
Apr 13, 2016 Peggy Hess Greenawalt rated it really liked it
Loved the story, and the message. The illustrations needed some spunk. Great read aloud for older kids studying American and Black history.
Karen Arendt
Another excellent biography showing how determination can overcome challenges.
Franki Sibberson
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Floyd Cooper received a Coretta Scott King Honor for his illustrations in Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea and I Have Heard Of A Land. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mr. Cooper received a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma. In 1984 he came to New York City to pursue a career as an illustrator of books and now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two sons.

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