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Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson

By: Sue Stauffacher
Illustrated by: Greg Couch
Formats: Trade Paperback
Imprint: Dragonfly Books
ISBN: 9780375865442
2011-01-11 - $7.99

Althea is nothing but trouble! Everyone agrees: her mama, her daddy, her teacher, even the policeman. But when Buddy Walker, the play leader on Althea's street in Harlem, watches her play paddle tennis, he sees something more: pure possibility. Buddy buys Althea her very own stringed tennis racket, and before long, she's on her way to becoming a great athlete—and to proving that she's more than just trouble.

Althea Gibson was the first African American ever to compete in and win the Wimbledon Cup. Born in 1927, she was a spirited child and became an enormously talented athlete. Sue Stauffacher's lively text, paired with vibrant paintings by artist Greg Couch, captures the exuberance, ambition, and triumph of this remarkable woman. Readers will cheer from the stands as Althea transforms from playground tomboy to Wimbledon champion.

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Althea Gibson
September 04, 2013

Althea Gibson

On August 23rd, the United States Postal Service revealed the latest addition to their Black Heritage stamp series, Althea Gibson. The gorgeous stamp was revealed on the grounds of the U.S. Open in Flushing, New York, last Friday and was illustrated by none other award-winning artist Kadir Nelson (who illustrated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech in breathtaking detail).

Gibson was the first African American athlete of either gender to win a Grand Slam title, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Nationals (the predecessor of the U.S. Open) in 1956, and turned around and won Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals again in 1958. In total, she won eleven Grand Slam tournaments, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.  As her time on the tennis court coincided with the American civil rights movement, and she so effectively broke down color barriers, she was often compared to another sports legend, Jackie Robinson.  as the first African-American of either gender to win Wimbledon coincided with the American civil rights movement.

As if all of that isn’t impressive enough, she was a professional singer, appeared on countless television shows, worked as a sports commentator, and later became a professional golf player and the first African American woman to join the LPGA.

If you’d like to learn more about Gibson’s incredible life, or if you’d like to bring her into your classroom discussions of the civil rights movement, be sure to find Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson. (And check out our guide for incorporating this title, as well as other picture book biographies, into your lesson plans!)