The picture book biography Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion by Heather Lang and illustrated by Floyd Cooper leaves the reader breathless. It is an amazing story of a woman who ran, ran, and ran some more to overcome poverty, racism, and gender barriers, ultimately making her mark on history as the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
Heather Lang’s passion for her topic shines through beautifully, making a story that is already compelling even more of a page turner. She also did her research homework, as you can see in the back matter and during an interview at Unpacking the Power of Picture Books. Heather’s website also has links, videos and photographs.
Floyd Cooper is a fabulously talented artist. His illustrations have a wonderful texture, as though they were created on fine-grained sandpaper.
Queen of the Track will break some barriers of its own, as it is useful for units on U.S. History, Black History, and will likely entice readers interested in sports, as well.
Don’t take my word for it, check out the trailer. Be sure to hang on for after the first credits for some actual photographs of Alice.
The Nonfiction Detectives have an earlier review
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (March 1, 2012)
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How exciting, Nonfiction Monday is here at Wrapped in Foil this week.