Famous Firsts: The Trendsetters, Groundbreakers, and Risk-Takers Who Got America Moving!

Overview

What do snowboarding, BMX, water skiing, and cheerleading have in common? They are all activities that were invented by innovative Americans. Famous Firsts explores the evolution of several cool ways to get moving and profiles the groundbreakers who started it all. Features lingo, trivia, and facts about gear and safety, and photos of hot American athletes, including skateboard legends Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, and Alan "Ollie" Gelfand, BMX pros Mat Hoffman and Cory Coffey, skate and snowboard phenom Shaun White, and...

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Overview

What do snowboarding, BMX, water skiing, and cheerleading have in common? They are all activities that were invented by innovative Americans. Famous Firsts explores the evolution of several cool ways to get moving and profiles the groundbreakers who started it all. Features lingo, trivia, and facts about gear and safety, and photos of hot American athletes, including skateboard legends Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, and Alan "Ollie" Gelfand, BMX pros Mat Hoffman and Cory Coffey, skate and snowboard phenom Shaun White, and pro surfer Bethany Hamilton, all of whom talk about the unique "firsts" they accomplished in their sports.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leslie Greaves Radloff
Part of the "My America" series, this book provides a brief introduction to the people responsible for sports that seem uniquely American—cheerleading, Frisbee throwing, skateboarding, and more. Each activity is described on a two-page spread. The main text is accompanied by many bites of information and small photographs whose captions cleverly use common figures of speech while providing additional information about the topic. The author has included brief glossary terms in sidebars called "Learn the Lingo," which should appeal to readers. Updates on some of the people highlighted are included at the end of the book. The latter is a nice touch; it lets readers know that many of the people mentioned are still active and involved in the sports, even though they are older. The main text is written clearly with complex sentences (nice to see that this is not an oxymoron) that the intended audience should find engaging. Readers could pick this up and read a page or two, or they could read it from beginning to end. This book would be a fine choice for reluctant readers because of pictures that carry the text along, and because the space is broken up with photos, vocabulary sidebars, quotes and trivia. While many readers would find this interesting, it should appeal to boys in lower middle grades who are beginning to be interested in sports and their stats. Librarians should find this easy to book talk and valuable as a source of quick information. Reviewer: Leslie Greaves Radloff
VOYA - Kathie Fitch
This book is a history of action sports that were started in America. They all began with a simple idea that became more complex as the sport caught on. Cheerleading, surfing, trampoline, skateboarding, BMX riding, and in-line skating are some of the sports included that have great teen appeal. These are less-conventional sports that are considered to be American creations but are now enjoyed worldwide. The inventors of the sports and the athletes who have excelled in them are introduced. The format of the book is like a school yearbook. Each page is full of photographs placed at odd angles and numerous sidebars besides the text itself. Most photos are in brilliant color but very small and difficult to see. There is no index so it is better suited for browsing than use for any in-depth research.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-7- This book is less about famous trendsetters and more about how a variety of extreme sports and games outside of the mainstream got started and developed. Featured in four-page chapters are surfing, cheerleading, sled-dog racing, water skiing, trampolining, flying discs (Frisbees), skateboarding, BMX, snowboarding, and in-line skating. Interspersed with photos, trivia and lingo boxes, and a map showing a point of origin, the text describes each pastime's history and progress, equipment, key players, competitive events, and safety. A final section offers tips intended to inspire readers to create their own new sport or move. The layout and illustrations are attractive. The athletes highlighted include young people and women but few individuals from minority groups. The text is a bit jumpy, providing many tidbits without background or explanation, and the coverage of subtopics is often insufficient. However, the book does succeed as an overview of these activities. Avid fans will be looking for more, but casual readers will enjoy browsing through the pages.-Sharon R. Pearce, Longfellow Elementary School, Oak Park, IL

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897073551
  • Publisher: Lobster Press
  • Publication date: 10/10/2007
  • Series: My America Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

"Author Natalie Rompella has always loved insects and once worked alongside cockroaches, walking sticks, and giant millipedes at The Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. Natalie teaches elementary school and lives in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, and is also the author of Famous Firsts: The Trendsetters, Groundbreakers, and Risk-Takers Who Got America Moving!
The content of this book was evaluated by Zack Lemann, Staff Entomologist with Audubon Nature Institute, and Steve Sullivan, curator of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and The Notebaert Nature Museum."
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