The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Frank Morrison

Published by Chronicle Books 

Summary:  Alta’s pretty sure she’s the fastest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, until Charmaine comes along and challenges her to a couple of races.  Charmaine’s got new sneakers, and Alta’s toes are poking out of hers, but the contest ends in a draw.  Alta’s unhappy about the new girl, until the next day, when she’s racing to get herself and her banner to the parade in time to see Olympic medalist Wilma Rudolph go by.  The two girls work together, and end up with a curbside seat to the parade.  Wilma gives them a wave and a smile, and the two girls find themselves smiling at each other as well.  An author’s note gives a brief history of Wilma Rudolph and her victory parade, which she insisted be open to all races, making it the first major integrated event in Clarksville’s history.  40 pages; ages 5-8.

Pros:  A fun story of friendship, served up with a slice of history.  Frank Morrison occasionally channels Hilary Knight in his action-packed illustrations.

Cons:  Kids will need a little background on Wilma Rudolph before reading this book to fully appreciate the story.

 

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