The Quickest Kid in Clarkesville by Pat Zietlow Miller Book Review

The Quickest Kid in Clarkesville by Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrations by Frank Morrison
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: February 9, 2016

It's the day before the big parade and all Alta can think about is one thing: Wilma Rudolph. Three time Olympic gold medalist, Wilma will be riding through their town. Wilma is Alta's role model because Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee just like Wilma was. Sure, Alta's shoes have holes in them, but that just makes Alta try harder and run faster. Then a new girl arrives with shiny new shoes and challenges Alta's status as the quickest kid in Clarksville.

What a wonderfully rich and complex story this is. On the surface, this is the story of one little girl who is enamored with an athlete, but Miller does such a good job of  making it more. Wilma Rudolph wasn't just a role model because she was a good athlete, it was also about where she was from and the color of her skin. She inspired a generation of little girls to run faster. Alta's story is also about budding friendships, socioeconomic status, and proving oneself. That's a lot to pack into one picture book, but Miller does so deftly. A great addition to any classroom and anyone wanting to inspire this generation to greatness.