Touch The Sky, Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper


Alice Coachman was born in a time when society gave women specific roles. Sports was not "ladylike," and the idea of going away to high school to be on a sports team even more unlikely. Yet that's what Alice did. She attended the Tuskegee Institute High School and was a Golden Tigerette. It was hard for Alice and her teammates, as prejudice and Jim Crow laws were everywhere they went. Yet Alice persevered to her goal: winning an Olympic gold medal. She represented the United States at the 1948 Olympics and won the only US Track and Field medal, setting an Olympic record in the high jump in the process.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers will enjoy this uniquely told, beautifully illustrated biography of an American champion. When they finish reading, they'll invariably ask Why haven't I heard of Alice Chapman?

Content Awareness Factors:


Parent Reaction

Exceptional! This is a well-told, beautifully illustrated biographic poem. The author did a wonderful job conveying the world around Alice - from her father to societal norms - without allowing them to overtake the story. The stanza repetition is just right and shows the passage of time in a new context as Alice's experiences grow.

Type of Book:
This is a picture book biography told in free verse poetry.
Educational Themes:

There is a narrative biography in the back of the book that gives readers more details about Alice Coachman's life. Because her life is told in free verse, it is harder to bring out other themes that can be explored: prejudice and racism; sociology (changing opinion of women's roles and capabilities); and traditions (e.g., visiting the White House), are a few that come to mind.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
8 to 12
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. Alice Coachman is someone all young readers should *meet* - not just girls!

Title Touch the Sky, Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper
Author Ann Malaspina
Publisher Albert Whitman & Company © 2012
Illustrators Eric Velasquez
ISBN 9780807580356
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Poetry, Sports, Biography
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Other Reviews:

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