Title: Game Set Match Champion Arthur Ashe
Author: Crystal Hubbard
Illustrator: Kevin Belford
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Concepts: careers, racial equality, discrimination, social justice
Review: With his three Grand Slam titles, tennis great Arthur Ashe left an important legacy as an incredibly gifted athlete who also fought for civil rights, the end of Apartheid in South Africa, and greater funding for AIDS research. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Arthur started playing tennis at the age of six on Richmond’s segregated courts. His willowy frame belied his power and agility, and Arthur quickly gained the attention of a coach and the local tennis circuit.
By Arthur’s senior year of high school, the lack of indoor courts for blacks constrained his ability to train and compete enough that his coach recommended he move to St. Louis, Missouri, where he could play year-round. Arthur did so well that he earned a scholarship to UCLA, the first black tennis player ever to do so. Arthur continued to break records and racial barriers as he climbed up the rankings to become one of the best tennis players in the world.
This book offers a refreshing opportunity for young learners to learn about Arthur Ashe’s accomplishments on and off the tennis courts. The biographical narrative takes its time in describing several key tennis matches in vivid detail, adding excitement and suspense for young readers not yet familiar with Ashe’s record. Clearly wrapped into the text are essential lessons about discrimination as a barrier to career development and about activism as a tool for promoting social justice.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children