cover image Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl

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

Megan Reid, illus. by Laura Freeman. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-285109-3

As a child in 1940s Harlem, Althea Gibson “reigned supreme” playing stickball, basketball, and paddle tennis: “If she put her mind to it, Althea was always the best. At everything except sitting still.” In this picture book biography of the tennis legend, Reid emphasizes Gibson’s athleticism and tenacity, tracing her journey from the tennis courts of Harlem’s Cosmopolitan Tennis Club, where she did odd jobs to pay for lessons, to winning titles on the elite grass of Wimbledon despite structural racism and prejudice (due to “laws and white people’s prejudices... black people could play tennis in their own league, but never with white people”). Reid also acknowledges that Gibson “was so eager to prove herself that she wasn’t always kind.” Freeman’s crisp, stylized illustrations distill dramatic moments into kinetic images. Includes an author’s note, a list of important dates in Gibson’s life, and a bibliography. A straightforward tribute to an inspiring athlete. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]