Heather Lang Books

Queen of the Track

Things were going badly for the American women's track and field team at the 1948 Olympics in London. One by one the athletes went down to defeat. Finally, any hope of winning rested on the shoulders of an athlete named Alice Coachman. Though it was late in the day and all other competitions were over, thousands of spectators stayed for the end of the high jump event and witnessed history. Alice Coachman became the first African American woman to win a gold medal. In time for the Olympic Games in London, this uplifting picture book follows Alice Coachman from rural Georgia, where she overcame adversity both as a woman and as a black athlete, to her triumph in Wembley Stadium, where King George VI presented her with the Olympic gold.

A portion of the author's royalties will be donated to the Alice Coachman Foundation, which helps deserving and proven amateur athletes reach their full potential.

"It's my wish that every young person read this inspiring book. Alice Coachman is truly a hero and her accomplishments remind us all to never give up when the odds are against us."
—Jackie Joyner Kersee, Olympic gold medalist

"Lang's descriptive text and Cooper's signature sepia-tone oil illustrations offer a rich, deep depiction of Coachman's determination to overcome obstacles."

"[T]his biography stands out for the lesser-known details it includes . . . Cooper's grainy sepia-hued pastels are striking; endnotes with more about Coachman and the historic 1948 Olympics support the thorough text."
—The Horn Book

"Lang has done her homework on Coachman."
—The Nonfiction Detectives

"[A]ccessible enough to appeal to new readers, and detailed enough to jump-start students looking for an excellent candidate for a National History Day project."
—The Denver Post

Unpacking the Power of Picture Books: Heather Lang and Floyd Cooper discuss the writing and illustration of Queen of the Track

Queen Of The Track: Alice Coachman Olympic high-jump champion, by Heather Lang, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, published by Boyds Mills Press

Boyds Mills Press
40 pages
Ages: 5 and up
Full-color illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-59078-850

      Queen of the Track trailer


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