I was a high jumper in high school. A very mediocre high jumper. Alice Coachman was a world class high jumper, ten time National Champion, and Olympic gold medalist. In and of themselves, these are huge accomplishments, but as an African American woman in 1940's Albany Alabama, these are truly remarkable.
Touch The Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper is the story of a young, poor, African American girl with big dreams and even bigger talent. Ann Malaspina wrote this captivating biography in lyrical free-verse, telling the story of Alice's life from her humble beginnings - she made her own high jump crossbar with sticks and rags - to the final page where Alice win's the Olympic gold medal in 1948.
The artwork captures Alice Coachman's story using beautiful illustrations by Eric Velasquez. The Author's Note at the end of the book tells more about this remarkable woman who continued to inspire others long after becoming the first African America woman to win an Olympic gold medal. The author includes early photos of Alice Coachman with her teammates from the Tuskegee Golden Tigerettes track team and of Alice in competition.
I try to read to my fourth grade son as much as possible, but sometimes he just doesn't want me to. Fair enough. I've always preferred reading to being read to. I decided to share Touch the Sky with him. I wanted a more mature perspective on the free verse story than my six year old daughter could provide. He really enjoyed it. He loves watching the Summer Olympics (me too) and thought it was cool that Alice Coachman won her gold medal in the same city where the 2012 Olympics will be held. And, he loved the poetry.
Blog you later!