Children's LiteratureIn the 2004 Olympic year, it is easy to focus on the present day games and their attendant controversies. In track and field, drug use among athletes is big news. With performance enhancing drug use allegations seeming to dominate coverage, many of track's elite athletes were banned from the Summer Games before they began. American Marion Jones, one of the best-known track stars, saw herself at the center of drug supposition, although she denied the use of any drugs. With 2004 as a backdrop, this marvelous book, part of the publisher's "African-American Biographies" series, is a breath of fresh air, Wilma Rudolph, winner of four gold medals at the 1960 Olympics, overcame segregation to become one of America's first African-American track stars. After retiring from track in 1962, she devoted her exemplary life to fighting poverty and racism. In 1980, she was elected to the Women's Sports Hall of Fame. At age 54, cancer ended her life prematurely, in 1994. This title is well written and well paced. It includes much helpful information, including a timeline and glossary. The authors have crafted a truly noteworthy book, which is destined to be at the top of the list of Wilma Rudolph biographies. 2004, Raintree/Reed Elsevier, Ages 10 up.
Bruce Adelson, J.D.