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Fearless: The Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith

Overview

When Louise Smith started racing cars, most girls weren't even allowed to drive. From her first wild adventure behind the wheel of her daddy's Ford to the dangers and thrills of stock-car tracks across the country, Louise fearlessly paved the way for women in racing and became a NASCAR legend!

It takes a lot of courage to be the first, but when you fearlessly follow your dreams, anything is possible.

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Overview

When Louise Smith started racing cars, most girls weren't even allowed to drive. From her first wild adventure behind the wheel of her daddy's Ford to the dangers and thrills of stock-car tracks across the country, Louise fearlessly paved the way for women in racing and became a NASCAR legend!

It takes a lot of courage to be the first, but when you fearlessly follow your dreams, anything is possible.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Louise Smith never played by the rules, first getting behind the wheel of a car when she was a free-spirited seven-year-old. Her love for driving doesn't stop there, and when, years later, a race promoter is looking for a girl to drive in a race--as a joke--Louise steps up. She places third and starts regularly competing in races (frequently getting into wrecks), but winning 38 times. Dawson's gorgeous, light-infused acrylics convey Louise's self-assured nature, while race scenes capture the rush of adrenaline in a blur of glinting metal. Rosenstock's upbeat prose finishes on a high note, with aging Louise flying down a country road: "Yep, the old lady could still drive fast enough to go anywhere she wanted." This debut for both author and illustrator is a winner. Ages 5–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Susan Treadway M.Ed.
Boldly illustrated with additional background information to enhance this opportune biography, children and adults learn about a young girl's dreams to drive "Fast! Faster! Flying! Free!" through decades of change. For women in the twentieth century auto racing was not as popular or sought after as other fields dominated by men like politics, business, sports, or aerospace. However, solid inroads became more evident after the mid-1970's as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR ) and other entities officially allowed women drivers. Up until then, it was a cut-throat world of constant danger, meager pay and unabashed limitations. Louis Smith may not have won every race she entered. She suffered severe injuries over and over again. Races were filthy dirty, cars were not always reliable, rewards were not tangible or forthcoming, and certainly motel living was far from home. However, Smith continued racing throughout her long life no matter the obstacles. No matter the rules, determination led the way in following her heart. Forty-three years after she left the racing world, she was the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Students readily connect with those who pursue daring adventures and demonstrate tremendous courage. Text is appropriately brief and yet quite vivid that nicely accelerates with every turn of the page. Youngsters can begin studying about women who have successful careers against tremendous odds by incorporating this inspiring book. Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–4—"Fast! Faster! Flying! Free!" is the mantra of this picture-book biography of a female pioneer in the then 100 percent male world of auto racing. In an era full of no's, don'ts," and can't's for women, Louise's fearless daring behind the wheel brought her to the attention of an entrepreneur looking for a girl driver as a gimmick to attract a larger audience in the stands. He opened a door Louise never thought to go through, and she never looked in that particular rear mirror again. Rosenstock's brief, fast text follows the dust laid by her spunky daredevil of a heroine, while Dawson's color-saturated paintings portray a determined woman who was still driving fast cars years after she left the circuit. This slender, brief biography of the first woman elected to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame will be an eye-opener to NASCAR beginner-buffs and welcomed by young sports fans (and feminists) assigned a biography book report.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews

Louise Smith was not your typical girl growing up in the 1920s. She craved speed, and that led her to car racing, a relatively new sport dominated by men. Louise's spunk was never dampened by the challenges she faced as a female racecar driver. Though her husband disapproved and the sport was dangerous, she pursued her dreams and never gave up, paving the way for today's female racers. Using bits and pieces of the legends that grew up around Louise, Rosenstock tells her story in a simple but animated way, moving from one character-developing anecdote (she crashed her car into a chicken coop at the age of seven) to another (she snuck off to Daytona under the pretext of a vacation in the South). "Fast! Faster! Flying Free!" is the book's refrain, repeated in bold, red type that conveys movement and energy. Dawson's paintings give Louise's story the acceleration she loved. The blurred images show motion and speed, depicting history accurately, though through a nostalgic lens. A solid choice for racing fans and those who like to read about women trailblazers. (author's note, sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525421733
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/14/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 274,693
  • Age range: 5 years
  • Lexile: AD600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Barb Rosenstock lives outside of Chicago, Illinois. This is her first picture book.

Scott Dawson lives in Wichita, Kansas. This is his first picture book.

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