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

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  894 ratings  ·  120 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
Paperback, 44 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1996)
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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
Kathy Roderer
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
Rachel Kenney
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
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
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
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
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.

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
Jordon Worley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nora Alomari
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
Grade/interest level: Upper Elementary
Reading level: AD730L (
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,
Nov 14, 2009 Liz rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Ruth Ann
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
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
Alyssa Weber
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
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
This was a really good book that covered the life of Wilma Rudolph. The book showcased her life and how she overcame the crippling effect of polio. Wilma never gave up on her goal and ended up doing something that no one had ever done before! This book delivers a good message of overcoming adversity and shows students that they can do anything they really work for and set their mind on (although her situation was really RARE). I liked the fact that this book also opened up the students eyes to a ...more
Wilma Rudolph was once known as "the sickliest child in Clarksville Tennessee." This beautiful book tells the story of how she overcame polio, poverty, and prejudice to become the fastest woman in the world and win three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics. One of 22 children Wilma's family, faith, and determination helped her achieve amazing things.

The rich, colorful illustrations are displayed on sepia toned photographs that make them jump off the page. A beautiful book that should be shared wit
Genre: Junior Book- Biography
Summary: From the time Wilma Rudolph was born, people had low expectations for her. She was only four pounds at birth and it was a miracle she survived. Rudolph was determined to accomplish her dreams, no matter what obstacles stood in her way. She was successful throughout her life because of this and became the first American woman to win three gold medals at one Olympics.
Critique: Theme- Overcoming Obstacles
Rudlolph was a small fragile child when born, and many s
CH_Emily Scholnik
A Children's Book of the Month Club Featured Selection.
A Junior Library Guide Selection
Grade Range 2nd-5th

This picture-book biography tells the inspirational story of Wilma Rudolph, a gold medal winning runner in the 1960 Olympics. Life was not an easy road for Wilma. Living with her 19 older brothers and sisters, Wilma was a normal and energentic child, until she became sick with scarlett fevor and then polio. Doctors told her that she would never be able walk again. But, against all odds, Wilm
Felicia Mcdowell
Krull, K. (1996). Wilma Unlimited :How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Women. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company.
Subgroup: African American Traditions
Genre: Biography
Topics: track-and-field athletes, runners, women
Synopsis: This book is about an African American child who lived during the 1940s. As a child she became ill with the crippling disease polio, which prevented her being able to walk. During these times, many children began permanently crippled or they either died if the
Wilma Rudolph overcame many obstacles in her life, being born sickly, contracting polio, leg paralysis and a metal brace. She never accepted these limits and went on to not only go to the Olympics, but to be the first woman to win three gold medals at an Olympic. She is inspiring and I was thrilled when my son picked this book. We loved the story and the illustrations are amazing. Wilma Rudolph is a true American Hero!
Born prematurely, Wilma Rudolph seemed destined to remain sickly all her life, and when she contracted polio as a young child, she was told she would never walk again. But walk she did-- her perseverence allowed her over the years to work her way into a brace and then to learn to walk without it, and finally to lead her high school basketball team to a championship. Her team may have lost that championship, but she caught the eye of a college recruiter who was impressed with her running skills-- ...more
Leslie Morrison
Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940, in Clarksville, Tennessee. She was the youngest of 19 brothers and sisters. When Wilma was five years old, she contracted polio. Her left leg became paralyzed, and she was told that she would never walk again. But Wilma did not give up. Over many years, she learned to walk again, then run again, play basketball, and then compete in the Olympics. Wilma wore a brace for a while, until she was 12. With the help of family, her church, and her friends, she overcame tau ...more
Mar 31, 2013 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
I had no idea who Wilma Rudolph was until I read this short bio on her, and it turns out, she was the fastest woman in the world in the 1960's after suffering from crippling polio growing up. A hero! Best facts:

- Wilma had to wear a leg brace growing up and was tortured by other kids. Instead of being overcome by those things, she worked super hard, ditched the leg brace, got on the basketball team, got discovered by a track and field guy, and went on to win three gold metals in the Rome Olympic
Mrs. Knott
Good picture book biography that covers the life of Wilma Rudolph. I saw this on a NFPB Wednesday blog and thought of my daughter who had written a report on Wilma Rudolph. This would be a great book for an elementary student to use for a biography because it covers so much in an accessible manner.
Ramanda Flannery
This is a short book for young children that tells the life of Wilma Rudolph. It tells about how she was a very sick child and had polio and because of this they thought she would never walk agian. She worked everyday to strengthen her legs and finally one day at church she got up out of her wheelchair and walked to the front pew. Everyone was so happy. She went on to be very good at sports and started running and today is known as the world's fastest woman.
I would use this book in a lesson abou
Joel Simon
Oct 01, 2009 Joel Simon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who needs a lift or wants to smile
Recommended to Joel by:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Mcavoy
Wow. This is one of those books and stories that blows you away. A sickly child, paralyzed by polio, Wilma Rudolph had determination and grit. Her story is jaw-droppingly exciting and inspiring and a great read aloud.
Dana Beyer
A picture book the reader will never forget. Many know Wilma won 3 gold medals and became famous as the fastest woman runner in 1960.. But how many know she had polio as a child. She took off her own leg brace one day and walked!!! She grew up surrounded by Luve and encouragement.
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