We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
While Women’s History Month is over, we continue to pay homage to wondrous and courageous females who have served as trailblazers in their own fields and disciplines where no paths existed previously.
Written by Jean L. S. Patrick Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Published by Charlesbridge Publishing (2017)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Lucile Ellerbe Godbold, also known as Long-Armed Ludy, was different from other girls her age. For one, she was six foot tall; she was also very skinny, and had extremely long arms.
But more importantly, Lucy had fire in her belly, especially when she realized that her long arms enabled her to do certain things no one could – such as throw a heavy iron ball across the sky “almost as long as three automobiles.” Thus, she trained almost like a woman possessed, ensuring that she was strong enough to compete nationally.
Clearly, there was no one like her in America. This meant that she was able to represent the country for the first ever Women’s Olympics held in France. There was one problem, though: she did not have enough funds to travel to Europe.
Undaunted, she continued to train, and decided to worry about the funds later on. To her astonishment and utter gratitude, the students and teachers from her college pooled their resources together to ensure that she was able to compete and travel outside of the country. Whether she won in that international competition, I shall leave for you to discover.
One of the things that struck me about this picturebook biography was how determined and no-nonsense Ludy seemed to be. Instead of being obsessed about her body image, frivolously worrying about how she was unlike other women, she was not portrayed to have regarded this as even worthy of her time and attention. Rather, she was singularly devoted to her training, her athleticism, and in supporting other members of her team.
I especially liked reading the biographical information found at the end of the story, as well as the Author’s Note where Jean L. S. Patrick shared what motivated her to write this story:
… With awe, I read Ludy’s diary, paged through her scrapbook, and saw her small, precious medals. Every item brimmed with emotion and determination.
Most thrilling was finding the auditorium where Ludy looked upon the Winthrop student body. As I stood on the stage, I realized her story wasn’t just about sports, but about people helping people.
This is truly a moving story that deserves to be read by more young readers; definitely worth adding onto your multicultural bookshelf of inspiring women and female athletes.