Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl” as Want to Read:
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A spirited picture book biography about Althea Gibson, the first black Wimbledon, French, and U.S. Open tennis champion, from debut author Megan Reid and Coretta Scott King Honor–winning illustrator Laura Freeman. This nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6. It’s a fun way to learn to read and as ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Balzer + Bray
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Althea Gibson, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Althea Gibson

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  116 ratings  ·  27 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl
Shaye Miller
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diversity
Growing up in Harlem during the 1940s, Althea Gibson was known as “the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete.” She played stickball, basketball, and tennis on the hot asphalt and was known as the fleet-of-foot girl who was good at everything she tried. Due to her skin color, she couldn’t attend the fancy tennis clubs, but as she became too good to ignore, many people began fighting for her to be included in the US Championships. This eventually got her to Wimbledon in 1957 where she won a cha ...more
This is one of the better written picture books I’ve read in a while. Super unique word choices, and a real commitment to emphasizing that Althea was *different* from her peers, in skill AND personality. So many biographies just tell events, but this went deeper than that.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story of the great athlete and pathbreaker Althea Gibson, born in 1927, begins provocatively:

“The championships at Wimbledon, England, were where the most famous tennis athletes in the world competed to be the best.
Sharp white collars.
Sharp white pleats.
Sharp white lines.
But in 1940s Harlem, the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete was Althea Gibson.”

We then learn how, while growing up in Harlem, Althea played stickball, basketball, and paddle tennis with anyone she could, and was alway
Ben Truong
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl is a children's picture book written by Megan Reid and illustrated by Laura Freeman. It celebrates the life of tennis champion Althea Gibson.

Althea Neale Gibson was an American tennis player and professional golfer, and one of the first Black athletes to cross the color line of international tennis. In 1956, she became the first African American to win a Grand Slam title. The following year she won both Wimbledon and the US Nationals, then w
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Althea Gibson "reigned supreme" in any athletic endeavor. So when she discovered tennis, she was determined to win and keep on winning. But tennis was a primarily white sport and most clubs didn't allow African-Americans to play. Althea took all her energy, determination, and confidence to the court and changed the sport by becoming the first black person to win a Wimbledon championship. Energetic and expressive illustrations bring this inspiring story to life. An excellent biography to add to a ...more
"At thirteen, Althea didn't know about Wimbledon, and she didn't care. When summer came and school let out, the only thing on her mind was this: the Play Streets up on 143rd.
For two months, the neighborhood's streets were barricaded off, and kids rules the asphalt.
"Althea! Althea!"
Everywhere she went, they called the fleet-of-foot girl to play."

And she did.

Reid's narrative about this amazing athlete reveals an indefatigable perseverance to reach the top of the tennis world - Wimbledon - in a
Ms. Yingling
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Born in 1927, Althea Gibson experienced the racial and gender disparities that were prevalent at the time, but were in the process of being changed. For example, the all Black Women's Tennis Association was formed in 1916. Growing up in Harlem, Althea had opportunities to play many sports casually, in streets that were blocked off during the summer for children to use. When her talent for tennis was noticed, she was fortunate enough to be near the Cosmop
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Althea Gibson : The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl by Megan Reid, illustrated by Laura Freeman, PICTURE BOOK, BIOGRAPHY Harper Collins, 2020. $18. 9780062851093



When Althea was a kid, she played in the streets of Harlem with her friends and excelled at everything. But by 13 - it wasn't enough to just play during the summer, so she joined the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club and worked odd jobs there to pay for her lessons. She was re
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Love the composition with all the circles that evoke tennis balls. Inspiring athlete with an interesting story. Recommended for ages 6-9.
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
When Althea was a kid, she played in the streets of Harlem with her friends and excelled at everything. But by 13 - it wasn't enough to just play during the summer, so she joined the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club and worked odd jobs there to pay for her lessons. She was really good at tennis, but because she was black, she could only play people in her own league. She beat everyone there - and wanted to be a world champion, but the laws in the United States were not on her side. By 1950 she was invit ...more
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it
A fairly kid-friendly picture book biography of a prominent black female athlete who broke racial and gender barriers in tennis and golf in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's. Althea Gibson was a girl from Harlem who was tall, quick and extremely athletic. When she joined an all-Black tennis "club" in the 1950's, she began quickly and easily beating her African-American fellow athletes. Soon, she needed to branch out and she wanted to compete around the world against other athletes. Because of discrimin ...more
LaVonne Hanlon
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gr. K-3. This terrific picture book biography covers tennis great Althea Gibson’s life from her teenage years, when she excelled at all sports, to her astonishing win as the first black champion at Wimbledon in 1957. In between, it describes the discrimination and prejudice she faced both on and off the courts until she was finally accepted to the U.S. championships and began her worldwide conquest of the game. An author’s note, important dates, and related resources at the end of the book offer ...more
Panda Incognito
This beautifully illustrated picture book biography tells Althea Gibson's story with spirit and heart, capturing her tomboyish personality, her persistence, and her triumph as a black trailblazer in tennis. Although I was familiar with this woman's name and knew that she was an athlete, I knew almost nothing about her, and I enjoyed learning about how she broke the color barrier in tennis, learned to become a gracious loser, and carved out a place for herself despite cultural resistance to her " ...more
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked learning about Althea Gibson and how she preserved. I loved the illustrations. The text was okay but didn’t impress me too much. I know Gibson said “fleet of foot” in a quote but I didn’t love the use of that phrase over and over. I’ve never heard it used before so you can bet kids haven’t either and it wasn’t really well explained.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grades 3-5
Biography. This is a well-written and illustrated story of a famous tennis player. It includes a timeline, author's note and books to learn more about this tennis great. Kids will enjoy it. Highly recommended for Grades 3- ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, sports
I like how it doesn't make her seem perfect -- it talks that at first she wouldn't shake hands and wish her opponent luck and would taunt them, but that she learned better over time.

She was obviously an amazing athlete and this is a story that anyone who follows tennis should know.
Done biography of an important sports star, has a great theme of perceverence
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios, picture-books
Loved the story and illustrations as well as the back matter.
Lauren Lunt
Great book about record breaking Althea Gibson- the first black woman to win the Wimbledon, French, and U.S open
A fascinating look at Althea Gibson and not only her amazing professional career in tennis but at some of the personal life experiences that shaped her.
Pam  Page
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An interesting biography of Althea Gibson with an author's note, important dates, and further resources about Gibson. Nice digital illustrations. ...more
Edward Sullivan
Inspiring introduction to the trailblazing athlete, the first black Wimbledon, French, and U.S. Open tennis champion.
Jenn Adams
This is a nice selection to switch up the people we talk about for Black History Month. Some of the wording was awkward in places and nothing was amazing.
Maureen Tully
An excellent introduction to Althea Gibson. The author's note at the end provided additional information, along with the timeline and short bibliography. ...more
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Inspiring and beautifully illustrated!
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked the story about Gibson. And I really liked the theme of perseverance.
Raven Black
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great art complimenting highlights of Gibson's life. A female and black pioneer in not only the world of tennis, but golf too. She was a person who made history. ...more
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2020
rated it really liked it
Dec 10, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2020
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
  • Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina
  • The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne
  • Beautiful Shades of Brown: Laura Wheeler Waring, Artist
  • Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
  • A Voice Named Aretha
  • A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer!
  • Sometimes People March
  • I Promise
  • Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers
  • Joni: The Lyrical Life of Joni Mitchell
  • If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets
  • I Am Every Good Thing
  • Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany
  • The Teachers March!
  • The Bug Girl: A True Story
  • Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
26 likes · 11 comments