Thursday, January 24, 2008
Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku
Crowe, Ellie. 2007. SURFER OF THE CENTURY: THE LIFE OF DUKE KAHANAMOKU. Ill. by Richard Waldrep. New York: Lee & Low. ISBN 1584302763 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
In this picture book biography, we meet Duke Kahanamoku, a Hawaiian hero who put surfing on the map as a world-class sport. He broke records as an Olympic swimmer and introduced surfing across the globe. His name and story may not be familiar to many, but it’s a compelling one for young readers. Beginning with his growing up years across the road from Waikiki Beach to his winning of Olympic gold medals, Kahanamoku faces racism and prejudice, but persists with drive and dedication. A final, thorough time line helps provide a background context for the story. Vivid colored pencil and gouache illustrations echo the drama of the story, showing scenes of action and energy.
Work with children to trace the steps of Kahanamoku’s life on a world map as he journeys from Hawaii to Sweden to New Zealand and Australia to California to Germany, etc. Invite them to research how competitive surfing is conducted today.
Other books for children about athletes succeeding despite prejudice:
Krull, Kathleen. WILMA UNLIMITED. ISBN 0152020985
Miller, William. NIGHT GOLF. ISBN 1584300566
Stauffacher, Sue. NOTHING BUT TROUBLE: THE STORY OF ALTHEA GIBSON. ISBN 037583408
By Sylvia M. Vardell