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Trudy’s Big Swim: How Gertrude Ederle Swam the English Channel and Took the World by Storm



by
Sue Macy
illustrated by
Matt Collins

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Holiday House
Imprint
Holiday House
ISBN
9780823436651

Awards and Honors
2018 Capitol Choices, Ages Zero to Seven
2018 Amelia Bloomer List: Early Readers, Nonfiction
ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2018, Middle
CCBC Choices 2018 Choice: Historical People, Places, and Events
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$15.30   $12.75
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Trudy's Big Swim is the harrowing, captivating, and unforgettable story of a defining moment in sports history—and the courageous athlete who made it happen. Afterword. Bibliography. Source list. Full-color multi-media illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

32

Trim Size

9" x 11"

Dewey

797.2/1092 B

AR

5.9: points 0.5

Lexile

AD980L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Mar 2017

Book Genres


Topics

Gertrude Ederle (1905–2003). Swimmers. Women swimmers. English Channel.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Prolific writer Macy has created a visually stunning picture book biography of Olympian Gertrude Ederle’s history-making swim across the English Channel in 1926. Collins’s Prismacolor pencils on vellum illuminate the hazards of the 21-mile swim: jellyfish, sharks, driftwood, and strong currents, as well as the logistics of eating during the 14-hour endeavor. Two hundred people had previously attempted the swim prior to Ederle, and only 12 had made it, all of whom were men. Ederle was a teenage success story, winning one gold and two bronze medals at the 1924 Olympics. Readers will be enthralled to discover how she kept warm, battled leg cramps, and kept her spirits up and how she actually swam 35 more miles because the current threw her off course. The afterword and author’s note are what really make this work stand out from others. This is one of the few titles to mention that Ederle was not in fact a teen at the time of the crossing. She had already turned 20, but saying she was a teenager made her feat even more impressive, so the media ran with it. Ederle’s life after the crossing was just as remarkable. She was nearly deaf after age 22, and a back injury hampered her chances of walking or swimming again. But Ederle continued to walk and eventually taught swimming to deaf children, living to the ripe old age of 98. Back matter includes additional context on the politics and culture of the United States in the 1920s. VERDICT A fantastically illustrated account of a groundbreaking event in women’s sports history, and a fine addition to biography collections.—Laura Dooley-Taylor, Lake Zurich Middle School North, IL

Horn Book

Bitter cold, fatigue, leg cramps, driftwood obstacles, jellyfish stings, threats of shark attacks—it’s the rare individual who would risk all this for the chance to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, a distance of twenty-one miles as the crow flies but considerably farther for a swimmer up against the push-pull of tides and currents. Macy and Collins (the pair behind Roller Derby Rivals and Basketball Belles) assuredly capture twenty-year-old Gertrude Ederle’s unique fortitude of August 6, 1926, when, after fourteen-plus hours, she achieved her goal. The book begins mid-swim, and Macy’s immediate, involving text takes breaks only to supply essential backstory (Ederle had failed at her first attempt to swim the Channel) and scene-setting details (to encourage Ederle as she swam, her supporters played music on a phonograph aboard a tugboat traveling beside her). Collins’s retro-flavored mixed-media art has a you-are-there, camera-like perspective, zooming in at key points along the way; at times, water droplets smash against a “lens” barely separating Ederle from the reader. Appended resources include an afterword offering perspective on Ederle’s place and time, drawing a through-line from American women’s right to vote, won in 1920, to a greater open-mindedness regarding female participation in aspects of public life, including sports, previously thought to be men’s domain. nell beram

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Prolific writer Macy has created a visually stunning picture book biography of Olympian Gertrude Ederle’s history-making swim across the English Channel in 1926. Collins’s Prismacolor pencils on vellum illuminate the hazards of the 21-mile swim: jellyfish, sharks, driftwood, and strong currents, as well as the logistics of eating during the 14-hour endeavor. Two hundred people had previously attempted the swim prior to Ederle, and only 12 had made it, all of whom were men. Ederle was a teenage success story, winning one gold and two bronze medals at the 1924 Olympics. Readers will be enthralled to discover how she kept warm, battled leg cramps, and kept her spirits up and how she actually swam 35 more miles because the current threw her off course. The afterword and author’s note are what really make this work stand out from others. This is one of the few titles to mention that Ederle was not in fact a teen at the time of the crossing. She had already turned 20, but saying she was a teenager made her feat even more impressive, so the media ran with it. Ederle’s life after the crossing was just as remarkable. She was nearly deaf after age 22, and a back injury hampered her chances of walking or swimming again. But Ederle continued to walk and eventually taught swimming to deaf children, living to the ripe old age of 98. Back matter includes additional context on the politics and culture of the United States in the 1920s. VERDICT A fantastically illustrated account of a groundbreaking event in women’s sports history, and a fine addition to biography collections.—Laura Dooley-Taylor, Lake Zurich Middle School North, IL

Horn Book

Bitter cold, fatigue, leg cramps, driftwood obstacles, jellyfish stings, threats of shark attacks—it’s the rare individual who would risk all this for the chance to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, a distance of twenty-one miles as the crow flies but considerably farther for a swimmer up against the push-pull of tides and currents. Macy and Collins (the pair behind Roller Derby Rivals and Basketball Belles) assuredly capture twenty-year-old Gertrude Ederle’s unique fortitude of August 6, 1926, when, after fourteen-plus hours, she achieved her goal. The book begins mid-swim, and Macy’s immediate, involving text takes breaks only to supply essential backstory (Ederle had failed at her first attempt to swim the Channel) and scene-setting details (to encourage Ederle as she swam, her supporters played music on a phonograph aboard a tugboat traveling beside her). Collins’s retro-flavored mixed-media art has a you-are-there, camera-like perspective, zooming in at key points along the way; at times, water droplets smash against a “lens” barely separating Ederle from the reader. Appended resources include an afterword offering perspective on Ederle’s place and time, drawing a through-line from American women’s right to vote, won in 1920, to a greater open-mindedness regarding female participation in aspects of public life, including sports, previously thought to be men’s domain. nell beram

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