cover image The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. by Frank Morrison. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-2936-5

In 1960, African-American runner Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals in the Olympic Games. In a story about teamwork and determination, Miller (Sharing the Bread) imagines the children Rudolph might have inspired. Alta lives in Rudolph's hometown of Clarksville, Tenn., which will be honoring the runner's victories in an upcoming parade (an author's note explains that the parade was the first major non-segregated event in Clarksville's history). Alta adores Rudolph and considers herself to be Clarksville's fastest kid, until she meets Charmaine, who has a brand-new pair of running shoes and boasts, "I'm faster than anyone." Several one-on-one races later, Charmaine's strutting confidence continues to irk Alta, whose family can't afford new shoes. But the girls overcome their initial prickliness in order to race%E2%80%94together%E2%80%94to the parade with a celebratory banner in tow. Working in watercolor, Morrison (Little Melba and Her Big Trombone) gives the girls abundant personality as they size one another up with laserlike glares. Miller does the same, narrating from Alta's no-nonsense point of view. Ages 5%E2%80%938. Author's agent: Erin Murphy Literary Agency, Ammi-Joan Paquette. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Feb.)