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****Wilma Unlimited

How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman

by Kathleen Krull

illustrated by David Diaz

Reviewed May 7, 2004.
Harcourt Brace & Company, San Diego, 1996.  42 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JB RUD).

This beautiful picture book tells the inspiring story of Wilma Rudolph.  19th in a famly of 22 children, Wilma was born weak and sickly, but she loved to run and jump.  When she was five years old, Wilma was stricken with polio.  Her leg was twisted and crippled and the doctor told her she would never walk again.

That doctor didn’t know the determination of Wilma Rudolph.  She faithfully did leg exercises to strengthen her legs until one day in church she walked down the aisle.  She went on to play basketball on a winning high school team.  She earned a scholarship to run track-and-field at Tennessee State University, becoming the first in her family to go to college.

The high point of Wilma’s life happened at the 1960 Olympic Games.  Wilma won three gold medals and showed herself to be the fastest woman in the world.  She proved once  and for all that difficulties that might have held back anyone else would never limit her.

Telling this story in a picture book with creative pictures and interesting textual backgrounds not only tells children the facts of the story, but it also gives them a sense of wonder at what Wilma accomplished.

Review of another book by Kathleen Krull:
Harvesting Hope

Review of another book illustrated by David Diaz:
The Pot that Juan Built

Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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