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Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman

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4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,366 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews
Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. And she did run--all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad. This dramatic and inspiring true sto ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,167)
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Sarah
Sep 25, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
No one expected Wilma Rudolph to become a world-famous runner because she was born underweight and sickly. She contracted polio at a young age and spent her childhood in a steel brace.

Through sheer hard work and determination, she exercised herself well enough to walk and then to be a star basketball player in high school. A college coach saw her play, and recruited her as a runner for Tennessee State University. Next thing we know, she's in the Olympics in Rome.

The tension of her Olympic perfo
...more
Kathy Roderer
Sep 26, 2009 Kathy Roderer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This is the picture book story of Wilma Rudolph, the Olympic runner. Wilma was born in 1940, a small and sickly baby who became a victim of polio as a young girl. This story not only tells how Wilma dealt with the challenges of polio to become an athlete, but also overcame the many challenges for African-Americans, female athletes, and people with disabilities during this era. Health care and hospitals for her were limited because of the color of her skin. She also was not allowed in school beca ...more
Jeffrey
1. Genre: Biography
2. Summary: This biographical picture book is about Wilma Randolph, an African-American woman that won three gold medals in track and field at the 1960 Olympics. The book details her life and all the obstacles she had to overcome before she became the fastest women in the world.
A. Area of Comment: Accuracy of Content
B. The book is very accurate in the details of Wilma Randolph’s life and how she became an Olympic athlete. The author writes these details in a way that a young r
...more
Melissa
Mar 23, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the truly inspiring story of Wilma Rudolph. As a young child, she suffered many health issues including polio, which left her left leg paralyzed. This wasn’t enough to stop Wilma though. With dedication and determination, Wilma taught herself how to walk without the use of her brace. From that moment, Wilma wouldn’t let anything stop her, and she went on to play basketball. While playing basketball, she realized her real talent was running. After using the same determination and ...more
Abby Johnson
In Izzy Barr, Running Star, Izzy had to do a report about Wilma Rudolph, apropos since Izzy was a runner. It piqued my interest, so I picked up this nonfiction picture book. I was amazed to find out that Wilma Rudolph had polio as a child and was told she would never walk again. Not only did she walk, but she went on to become the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics in 1960. Bright, exuberant illustrations by David Diaz show the emotion and action of Wilma's story. ...more
Lisa Fanelli
Nov 23, 2015 Lisa Fanelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wow-books
This is truly an amazing story about an amazing women. Wilma Rudolph is an Olympic athlete in track and field. This book is the story of her life.

When Wilma was a little girl, she was often sick. Her illness lead her to not be able to walk. The doctors told her parents that she would never be able to walk again. That did not sit well with her parents. So, they walked Wilma 2 miles to physical therapy to her regain the muscles in her legs. Not only did Wilma learn to walk again, but she later be
...more
Rachel Kenney
Nov 05, 2012 Rachel Kenney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grade/interest level: Primary
Reading level: 730 Lexile
Genre: Biography/ Multicultural Literature
Main Characters: Wilma
Setting: 1940-1994 Tennessee
POV: Narrator

This book is based on the true story of Wilma Rudolph, the Olympic champion known by numerous people worldwide. This book goes through her life story, which I didn't know prior, from a young child to world famous athlete. Wilma was stricken with polio as a young child. By the times she was five years old, she was paralyzed in her left l
...more
Connie
Nov 22, 2009 Connie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The illustrations are great. The font, though a little difficult to read, matches the pictures and is sure pretty. And the story is inspirational, I guess...

Actually, tell the truth, it's a little *too* inspirational. To read this book, Wilma Randolph did nothing in her life but work hard to overcome stuff. Which is inspirational, sure... but she comes out seeming very hard to relate too. As I read about how she successfully overcame being a (poor, black) preemie, and successfully overcame being
...more
Jeannie
Citation: Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman, Kathleen Krull, David Diaz (illustrator), Harcourt Brace and Company, 1996, 38p., Junior Book/Biography

Genre: Biography

Summary: This story is about the life of Olympic Gold Medalist, Wilma Rudolph, who soared through her circumstances when others set limits.

Critiques: a. The author tells the remarkable story of Wilma’s life challenges, and the mixed media illustrations seem to surpass the words by boldly telling her
...more
Christi
Dec 10, 2012 Christi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Biographical

Summary: This is the true story of a tiny sick girl that overcame an amazing amount of obstacles and health issues to not only be the first in her family to go to college but she made it into the Olympics. It it a powerful story of strength, pride and determination.

Critique:
A. Message
B. This story is amazingly powerful. The author gives us a true inspiring story of a brave woman who did not let circumstances keep her down or limit her life.
C. The book states that despite
...more
Jordon Worley
Sep 18, 2012 Jordon Worley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nora Alomari
Nov 20, 2012 Nora Alomari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grade Level interest: 3rd-5th grade
Lexile Level: 730L
Genre: Picture book/ Multicultural Literature/ Biography

Main Characters: Wilma
Setting: Tennessee/ Track field
POV: Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee with her parents and her 21 brothers and sisters. Wilma contracted polio and faced many difficult times in her life. She was always sick and going to the doctors. Doctors said that because of the polio, Wilma would never be able to walk again. This did not stop her. W
...more
Bridgit
Sep 30, 2012 Bridgit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grade/interest level: Upper Elementary
Reading level: AD730L (lexile.com)
Genre: Biography
Main Characters: Wilma Rudolph
Setting: 1940-1994, Tennessee
POV: third person, narrator

"Wilma Unlimited" is a true story about Wilma Rudolph, the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics for track and field. Wilma's life story is unfolds, revealing her struggles to walk after she was stricken with Polio and her isolation from school as a child. Despite racial and physical hardships,
...more
Mari
Apr 05, 2016 Mari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was one of my favorite bibliographic picture books that I have read. It is such a compelling story about the journey of Wilma's life and the pain she had to overcome. The struggle of being an African American and having health issues during the time Wilma was a child was difficult to read about but also powerful knowing how far society has come. The courage, power, and passion that is shown in this book makes for a great story.
Stephanie
Mar 24, 2016 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
An amazing book about overcoming life's obstacles and not giving up! My students loved this book and the lesson.
Liz
Nov 14, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 2nd grade and up
Shelves: lis-565
This pictorial biography of Wilma Rudolph, winner of three olympic gold medals, shows Wilma's inspirational struggle to overcome infantile paralysis due to Polio which ultimately lead her to the Olympics in 1960 where she became the first woman to win three gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics.

The beautiful illustrations by David Diaz add so much emotion to the story and bring it to life on the page. This inspirational book shows that we have the ability to overcome almost anythi
...more
Kelly Bowles
Krull, K. (2000). Wilma Unlimited: how Wilma Rudolph became the fastest woman. Orlando, FL: Voyager.

Citation by: Kelly Bowles

Type of Reference: Biographical Reference

Call Number: B Rud

Content/Scope: This title is designed for 2-5 grades. Though partially paralyzed by polio as a child, Wilma Rudolph was able to become a world-class runner, as the first woman to ever win three gold medals in track in a single Olympics. Rudolph overcame three obstacles: a normally crippling illness, growing up Afr
...more
Elizabeth Menchaca

Wilma Rudolph was born in Clarksville,Tennessee in 1940 she was one of 22 children (19th). When she was five years old she was diagnosed with Polio, doctors told her she would never walk again. Her mother was especially supportive even though she was a busy mother of 22 twice a week she would ride the bus to a hospital 50 miles away in Nashville that would treat African American patients so that Wilma could get therapy for her paralyzed leg. Wilma was very determined she worked hard during ther
...more
Ruth Ann
Aug 22, 2014 Ruth Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wilma Rudolph lived in Clarksville, Tennessee. She suffered from polio at age five, and as a result, her left leg was damaged. Nevertheless, she was determined to learn to walk again so she could go to school. Encouraged and supported by her large family, Wilma did her leg exercises and pushed herself. By high school she was playing basketball. She got a scholarship to run track for Tennessee and eventually competed in the Olympics in Rome Italy. There to the surprise of everyone, she won three ...more
Jessica
There's a 3rd grade class that comes to visit my library every other week, and I usually prepare a booktalk and/or readaloud for them. I find that this makes them really want to check out the books that I read them, and it's a good way for them to learn something new. I really like them and how excited they get about Lego Ninjago and Pokemon. This week, the teacher asked me to do a biography readaloud (they've been studying nonfiction as part of common core for quite a while now). I groaned a li ...more
Djamison
Sep 26, 2015 Djamison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dannita Stanley
Mar 27, 2015 Dannita Stanley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is an excellent book choice to share with students. This is a powerful story to utilize for a lesson on theme. This story is a classic story of perseverance and how hard work pays off.

I found my transaction the most powerful when Wilma took off her brace and walked into the church. She had worked so hard with her leg exercises after being told that polio had no cure and wouldn't allow her to walk again.

Wilma goes on to become an Olympic gold medalist, which is what I will carry on
...more
Ashlynn Armstrong
Feb 18, 2016 Ashlynn Armstrong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book is about Wilma Rudolph's life. It starts off talking about how she was a very lively child and would always be jumping,skipping, or hopping. She was also a very sick child. If one of her 19 siblings caught something she would catch it too. She one day get polio, and it cripples her leg. She is determined to get to walk again. Eventually she gets to and plays basketball, runs track at college, and eventually makes it to the Olympics.

I love this story, and every page made me want to go
...more
Kelly
Kelly Wiegand
April 7, 2015
EDL54500 Library Materials for Children and Youth

Title: Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman

Author: Kathleen Krull

Plot: This is the biography of Wilma Rudolph who overcame polio as a child and became the first woman to win three gold medals in track at one Olympics.

Setting: 1940 Clarksville, Tennessee; 1960 Rome, Italy

Characters: Wilma Rudolph; Her Mother

Point-of-View: Third-Person

Themes: Perseverance; Family; Hard Work; Courage

Style: Th
...more
Alyssa Weber
Nov 15, 2014 Alyssa Weber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull is a great biographical text for young readers. This book tells the story of Wilma Rudolph; a brief insight into her life and all of her obstacles, how she overcame them, and why she is now seen as an inspiration. This book would be wonderful to use in a classroom. It is intriguing to not only women, but also to young athletes. It may interest young readers who have a challenge in their life, and inspire them t ...more
Tanya
Feb 26, 2015 Tanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Biography

When Wilma Rudolph was born, she was not the healthiest baby. In fact, Wilma was an underweight sickly child. She caught various diseases easily, and at the age of 4, polio paralyzed her left leg. Not being able to walk, Wilma could not attend school but as her leg became stronger, she received a steel brace, now making school possible for her. The steel brace did not stop Wilma from doing her leg exercises, and when she was 12, she finally was able to walk without support. Wilma
...more
Laura Mueller
Apr 28, 2015 Laura Mueller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laura Mueller
February 16, 2015
EDL53500 Library Materials for Children and Youth

Title: Wilma Unlimited

Author: Kathleen Krull

Plot: Wilma was the youngest of 19 children. She developed polio at an early age and was a very sick child. She was not sure if she would ever be able to walk. However, she was determined to prove the doctors wrong and walk. One day all of her exercises paid off and she was able to walk without her braces. Then, she went on to run track and eventually made it to the Olympics
...more
Jamie Byrum
Wilma was born very small and was always sick. She always was sick. She loved to run, but then got Polio and they said she would never walk again. But she was determined and kept moving. Couldn't go to school since she couldn't walk. She got a metal brace that helped her walk, but school wasn't what she thought it would be - she was made fun of and left out. She took off her metal brace one day at church and walked. She was able to walk for good without the brace at age 12. Started playing baske ...more
Sarah
Nov 20, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an adult I learned so much from this wonderfully written book. I can only imagine how much knowledge a child will gain from this inspiring story. The story of Wilma Rudolph is one everyone should know from a young age, and Kathleen Krull depicted it perfectly. The illustrations are both colorful and fitting, while the story is beautifully written for children (and adults) of a wide range of ages. Kathleen Krull did a wonderful thing that many children biography writers do, which is write an A ...more
DeKota Smith
Nov 12, 2015 DeKota Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: This is a autobiography about Wilma Rudolph on her childhood growing up as she had polio which paralyzed one of her legs. It was to the point where she faced challenges and to find impatiens seeing the other kids play. It was then where Wilma worked extra hard with her leg exercises to overcome her disability to walk freely.

Illustrations: The pictures helps express the emotions in this overcome of a struggle Wilma went threw. It ties that story and pictures so perfectly together.

Concl
...more
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