Running Girl: The Diary of Ebonee Rose

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9780152006747: Running Girl: The Diary of Ebonee Rose

It is two weeks before the All-City Track Meet, and eleven-year-old Ebonee Rose is entered in four events. She puts in long hours of practice and collects her thoughts, dreams, and fears within the pages of her diary while counting the days until the meet. Ebonee Rose is nervous, but she remembers the words and deeds of her heroes, great women runners-Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence Griffith Joyner, Wilma Rudolph, and others. As the day of the meet nears, Ebonee Rose faces her worries and discovers the rewards of friendship.

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Grade 3-6. The heart of Running Girl is diary-format fiction, fiction as clear as poetry; but its soul is straight fact. The narrator is 11-year-old Ebonee Rose. In her kente-cloth-covered diary ("Cool, cool!"), she records her preparations for the All-City Track Meet and her respect for female runners who have broken color barriers, gender-based stereotypes, and speed records. The text bounds along light and free, in the manner of runners themselves. E. R.'s authentic voice is conversational and smart. Themes of competition, determination, and friendship from the girl's life weave in and out of the historical facts, documentary photos, poetry, and quotations she notes for inspiration. Whether it's a quote from Gail Devers ("When the walls are closing in, when someone doesn't know where to turn, tell people I was there, I kept going.") or an Olympic fact (Louise Stokes was replaced in the 1936 Games by a white runner she'd previously beaten), it's interesting to readers because it's important to E. R. The same is true for the action photographs shot by sports photojournalists. Mathis suggests a sports/arts connection by introducing lines from Gwendolyn Brooks ("What good is sun/If I can't run?"), the revelation that Florence Griffith Joyner writes poetry (and so does E. R.), and other comparisons. An author's note lists contact organizations (including Special Olympics International) for readers considering track club involvement.?Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, MA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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