Title: Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper
Author: Ann Malaspina
Illustrator: Eric Velasquez
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Concepts: human resources, careers, discrimination, racial inequality, social justice.
Review: Already at a young age, Alice Coachman liked nothing better than to race down the dirt road in her home town and soar high above the ground when playing basketball during school recess. It did not take long before her skills gained notice, and Alice was invited to enroll at Tuskegee Institute and join their track and field team. Not only did Alice dominate in the high jump at U.S. competitions, she wound up winning first place at the 1948 Olympics and becoming the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
Intertwined with this informative biography are several economics lessons, including the difficulties experienced by vulnerable households during the Great Depression, and the barriers faced by African Americans in businesses and communities across the country before the Civil Rights movement. The lyrical prose and striking images make Alice Coachman's story more accessible for young children who otherwise may miss the opportunity to learn about this influential athlete.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children