Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Talk Tuesday: Wilma Unlimited

In preparation for our author visit with Kathleen Krull, grades 3, 4, 5 classes are reading Wilma Unlimited and doing some fact-finding to learn more about Wilma Rudolph and practice using World Book and Britannica online. Students posted their facts with citations on a wallwisher board. 

I invited Ms. Krull to visit our school because I wanted to highlight nonfiction this year, and her books are examples of compelling and engaging biographies and stories from history.

Wilma Unlimited: The Fastest Woman in the World, by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Leo Diaz

No one expected Wilma Rudolph to become a world-famous runner because she was born underweight and sickly. She contracted polio at a young age and spent her childhood with one leg in a steel brace. 

Through sheer hard work and determination, she exercised her leg well enough to walk and later to be a star basketball player in high school. A college coach saw her play and recruited her as a runner for Tennessee State University. She eventually ran in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

The tension of her Olympic performances is gripping: she runs with a twisted ankle, knowing that her competitors have earned faster qualifying times than hers. But something clicks for her, and she blows away the rest of the field. 

I have read this in many story time sessions, and it never fails to hold the audience's interest. The large graphic-style pictures on one side of the page match well with the text, told with all the drama of Wilma's real-life struggle.

Wilma Rudolph video clips:
Wilma Rudolph biographical overview
Wilma Rudolph Interview
200 Meter Final

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