Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/15/2019 In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first African American tennis player—man or woman—to win the prestigious singles championship at Wimbledon. Reid tells of Gibson’s path to breaking the color barrier with a focus on her life as an athlete, beginning with her childhood in 1940s Harlem, where she had a reputation for being the best at every sport. Her discovery of tennis led to a hunger to prove herself, in spite of the racial segregation that attempted to hold her back. The text gives gentle examples of how discrimination continued to separate Gibson, even after being accepted into the pro tour in 1950, with more details provided in an afterword from the author. Freeman’s illustrations depict the tennis legend as focused, confident, and joyful in her power as she overcomes barriers, earning one success after another on and off the court. With Black tennis players, to this day, making up a stark minority on the world stage, this is a necessary addition to sports collections. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2019 PreS-Gr 3—Growing up in Harlem, Althea Gibson lived for the summers. Whether playing stickball, basketball, or paddle tennis, she dominated each game with her athleticism and quick reflexes. At 13, Gibson joined the all-black Cosmopolitan Tennis Club, where she went head to head with adults and became an unbeatable powerhouse. She needed new competitors, but this was the segregated 1940s—Gibson wasn't allowed to play tennis against white athletes in their separate clubs. She played in the all-black American Tennis Association for several years, but she wanted more. She hoped to take on the world and compete in international Grand Slams in Paris, Queens, and Wimbledon. In 1950, she was the first black American to break the color barrier in the U.S. championships. She won international matches and later, the singles title at Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958, making her the first black person (man or woman) ever to win that event. Reid's story flows with the grace and power of Gibson herself. The tennis champion is portrayed as a dedicated, competitive, and clever role model. The author's note, in particular, helps to fully flesh out Gibson's character. The expressive and exuberant digital artwork mirrors the tennis champ's liveliness and determination. VERDICT Gibson's story, richly illustrated and expertly told, is done great justice in this inspiring biography. A first purchase for most collections.—Abby Bussen, Muskego Public Library, WI - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.