Wilma Rudolph Beat the Odds

Who says true stories can’t be more thrilling than fiction? Whip out Kathleen Krull’s acclaimed picture-book biography Wilma Unlimited for a rousing read-aloud experience for all.

Many children don’t know Wilma Rudolph made history by winning three gold medals for running in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. That won’t stop them from cheering for the athlete who contracted polio at the age of 5 and was told she would likely never walk again.

Born in 1940, in Clarksville, TN, Wilma was the youngest of 19 brothers and sisters. She defied others’ low expectations of her by relying on her own strong will. Not only did she manage to shed her leg braces and walk, she went on to play high-school basketball. That’s how a track and field coach discovered her talent and offered her a college scholarship, thereby enabling her to become the first in her family to attend college.

Neither physical hardships, poverty, nor racism could hold back Wilma Rudolph. Enhanced by striking illustrations by David Diaz, this story can’t help but inspire others and show how perseverance can lead to triumph. Why not get this Women’s History Month off to a running start with this winner?

Author Kathleen Krull Provides Tips on Using Biographies in the Classroom.

Check out the 2nd annual KidsLit CelebratesWomen’s History Month

and see …



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Cryptoquote Spoiler – 06/13/14 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog
  2. Grace
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 10:28:47

    Wilma Rudolph is such an inspiring figure. I grew up with asthma, and so gym class was the bane of my existence. Even though I’m completely inept at sports, I used to think that if Wilma Rudolph could overcome physical limitations to be a world-class athlete, that maybe I could at least manage to pass gym class, lol.


  3. Kathleen Krull
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 13:59:43

    Thank you so much, Janice. Just posted this on FB.


    • Janice Floyd Durante
      Mar 05, 2012 @ 12:11:03

      You’re very welcome, Kathleen. When I saw how enthusiastically both boys and girls responded to this story, I decided to read it EVERY spring to second-graders in my school library. I also recommended many of your other fine nonfiction books to children (and bought several of them for my own daughters). Bravo, Kathleen! Thanks for your wonderful work.


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