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Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman [Hardcover]

By Kathleen Krull (Author) & David Diaz (Illustrator)
Our Price $ 11.90  
Retail Value $ 17.00  
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Item Number 160637  
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Item description for Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull & David Diaz...

A young reader's introduction to champion athlete Wilma Rudolph follows her development of polio at age four, an illness that doctors said would prevent her from ever walking, her schooltime achievements, and her gold-medal successes at the 1960 Olympic Games.

Publishers Description
This is the dramatic and inspiring true story of runner Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio and eventually went on to win three gold medals in a single Olympics. “A triumphant story, triumphantly relayed.”--Publishers Weekly

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages   48
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.84" Width: 11.24" Height: 0.39"
Weight:   0.99 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Harcourt Children's Books
Grade Level  Middle School  
Age  6-9
ISBN  0152012672  
ISBN13  9780152012670  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kathleen Krull & David Diaz

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kathleen Krull has written much innovative nonfiction for young people, including all of the books in the Lives of . . . series, and has made a chatty, accessible approach to biography her hallmark. She lives in San Diego, California. Visit her website at Kathryn Hewitt's caricatures of famous figures led kids to dub the Lives of . . . series the "Big Head" books. She has illustrated many books for young readers, some of which she also wrote. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Visit her website at

Kathleen Krull currently resides in San Diego, in the state of California.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > Authors & Illustrators, A-Z > ( D ) > Diaz, David
3Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Biographies > People of Color
4Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Biographies > Sports & Recreation
5Books > Subjects > Children > Sports & Activities > General
6Books > Subjects > Children > Sports & Activities > Sports > General
7Books > Subjects > Children > Sports & Activities > Sports > Soccer > Nonfiction
8Books > Subjects > Children > Sports & Activities > Sports > Track & Field
9Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

Reviews - What do customers think about Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman?

Great Book for Elementary Kids  Oct 19, 2007
My granddaughter needed books on Wilma Rudolph for a 5th grade school project. This ended up being her favorite. The text was just right for her understanding and she really liked the illustrations. As she was reading it she clutched it to her chest and exclaimed to me, "Grandma, I love this book!" It prompted a conversation about overcoming doubts, believing in yourself and what things inspire us... a conversation I don't think we would have had otherwise.
A homeschoolers review  Mar 17, 2006
This is a true and exciting story that will make you never want to give up on your dreams. I really liked this book and recommend that you read it.
Classroom Book  Feb 9, 2005
I have used Wilman Unlimited in my classroom for the past few years. It is a fantastic book to use any time during the year, but good for Black History Month also. I use it with fourth graders to teach sequencing and analyzing character. I highly recommend this book.
Running just as fast as she can  Jul 6, 2004
Inspirational stories fill hundreds of picture books every year. Most are simply awful. They either tell tales that are loose plots barely supported by facts or they paste together a slapdash concoction of truth and fiction with as little thought as possible. The truly beautiful bio-picture books out there are as rare as hummingbirds in autumn. So it was with great joy that I located "Wilma Unlimited" and found it to be not only inspirational but also a darned good read. Written by Kathleen Krull (the woman who could make long dead musicians fascinating in "Lives of the Musicians" and bring Cesar Chavez to life in the recent "Harvesting Hope") and illustrated by David Diaz the book is the best possible way to introduce kids to one of the world's greatest athletes.

Born in 1940 to a family of twenty-one people (nineteen siblings, no less), Wilma Rudolph was initially a sickly child. Though she was energetic enough, she often caught every disease imaginable. At the age of five, Wilma's left leg twisted inward and it was clear that she'd come down with polio. Still, Wilma was a determined child and she consistently exercised her unruly leg to get stronger. After continual practice, she was finally able to walk free of the leg brace that had weighed her down. At twelve the brace was put away for good and Wilma started participating in sports. She led her high school basketball team to the finals, catching the eye of a college coach. Before you knew it, Wilma was recruited into the Tennessee State University's track-and-field team on a full ride scholarship. In 1960 she competed in the Olympic Games in Rome. The book sets this part up beautifully. Wilma arrived with a twisted ankle into a place filled with television cameras (the first time they ever filmed the Olympics), the place "shimmering heat", and her competition consisting of runners who had run faster races than she ever had. Then Wilma proceeds to win one... two... three gold medals! The last medal is especially dramatic, hinging on the moment when Wilma drops her baton and STILL beats the other runners in the 400-meter relay. The last double page spread in this book shows Wilma standing, "tall and still, like a queen", earning the last of her three medals. It's a truly proud moment for all who have the privilege to experience it once again in picture book form.

Krull has a way with words. I'm not saying that Wilma Rudolph's life is dull. Far from it. But in the hands of a lesser author this story could easily have been bogged down in all the wrong moments. This author knows which moments should be given full glory. The moment when Wilma removes her brace and walks proudly into church will banish from your mind that similar pseudo-inspirational moment in "Forrest Gump". Wilma's struggle at the Olympics through pain and skepticism puts the reader through the same strains. You yearn for this woman to beat them and beat 'em she does. Then, best of all, come the illustrations of David Diaz. This is my first Diaz experience, though I suspect that I'll read many more of his books as the days go on. Diaz has accompanied his illustrations in this tale with sepia toned photographs. The book's endpapers display the outlines of footprints in the dirt. The title page is an evocative view of ivy climbing a raw wooden fence. Behind his colorful illustrations, each background photograph refers to the corresponding scene obliquely. When Wilma and her mother take the bus to the hospital, the photograph is a close-up of a wheel. When she packs away her leg brace, it's shredded packing paper. A great relief it is indeed that the colored illustrations are worthy of their sepia compatriots. Though these pictures may appear blunt at first, they are filled with the most delicate of designs. I loved watching the character of Wilma as she aged. As she grows in confidence, her posture improves and back stiffens until, by the last shot, she is standing taller than all the women around her. Than all the women in the world.

"Wilma Unlimited" should be known to everyone living in American today. This is inspirational without being either annoying or faux-patriotic. It's an actual honest-to-goodness amazing story. The book is beautiful and its story is worthy of its packaging. I challenge you to read it and not shake your head at least once in amazement. It's just that good.
such a fantastic book!  Sep 15, 2002
i am a reading specialist in Washington, DC and chose this book b/c i love David Diaz and because, like wilma, my children have many obstacles in their lives. i simply can not finish this book without nearly crying in front of my class. i've read it so many times, but the suspenseful writing and triumphant ending never get tiring. it is a truly wonderful story and wonderfully told and illustrated by this duo.

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