In this biography of tennis champion Althea Gibson, Gibson is a naturally gifted athlete who grows up dominating games of basketball, stickball, and anything else played during the summer recess on the streets of her Harlem neighborhood. Neighbors, recognizing her raw talent, help her join the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club. As she excels at the club, she set her sights on becoming a world champion, but in addition to actually beating opponents, she also has to overcome racial barriers preventing her from competing on the biggest stages against the best players in tennis. With help and support from fellow athletes and journalists who recognize her talent and know she needs to compete at the highest levels, Gibson ultimately is allowed to compete at Wimbledon and becomes the first black person to ever win a Wimbledon championship. In addition to sharing Gibson’s successes, Reid covers some of her faults, like how early in her career her competitiveness led her to actions that did not show good sportsmanship, which helps the authenticity of the biography. Freeman’s (Hidden Figures, illustrator) recognizable style is in full force in the digital illustrations, though her depiction of Gibson seems to vary noticeably between pages, and the page design feels busy. While Reid’s narrative is rough at moments, it commendably brings Gibson’s remarkable and important story to a larger audience.
"Readers get to see Gibson’s development from a young athlete, cocksure, assertive, and focused only on winning, to a considerate sportswoman in a league of her own, paving the way for generations of young tennis players coming after her."
Laura Freeman received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and began her career illustrating for various editorial clients. Laura has illustrated many fine children’s books over the years, including Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe, written by Deborah Blumenthal, and the Coretta Scott King Honor book Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly. Laura now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and their two children. Find out more about Laura at www.lfreemanart.com.
Nothing yet! You should let Megan Reid know that you want to hear from them about their book.
Nothing yet! You should let Laura Freeman know that you want to hear from them about their book.