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America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle

by David A. Adler
Illustrated by Terry Widener

Published by Harcourt, 2000
32 pages
ISBN: 0-15-201969-3

Ages 7 - 11

Gertrude Ederle first learned to swim in 1913 when she was seven years old and by age fifteen had won her first big race. The following year she became the first woman to swim from Lower Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a distance of 17 miles, and over the next few years she st 29 U.S. and world records. After winning three gold medals at the 1924 Olympics, Gertrude was determined to become the first woman to swim the English Channel. The greater part of this engaging picture-book biography focuses on her dramatic attempts to meet this challenge: after a failed attempt in 1925, Gertrude swam through stormy, treacherous waters the following year, with her sister Margaret cheering her on. She not only succeeded but she beat the men's record by almost two hours, inspiring newspaper reporters to proclaim that the myth that women were the weaker sex had been "shattered and shattered forever." The bold acrylic paintings include plenty of period details, aptly showing a strong, determined woman in the context of her times. (KTH; Mar 20) 2000 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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