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. Sue Stauffacher’s lively text, paired with vibrant paintings by artist Greg Couch, captures the exuberance, ambition, and triumph of this remarkable woman.
- Winner of the N.A.A.C.P Image award for Outstanding Children’s Literature
- NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
- CCBC Choices Book
- Donutheart is a Michigan Notable Book for 2007
- New York Public Library Book for Reading and Sharing
- Oprah’s Book Club Kids Reading List Selection
“The prose is rhythmic and has the cadence of the street, and it’s a treat to read aloud … This is an affecting tribute to a great athlete, and a story to both enjoy and inspire.” –School Library Journal (starred review)
“[A] sharp evocation of her spirited and appealingly pricky personality, Stauffacher and Couch brilliantly capture Gibson’s trajectory from feisty, undisciplined tomboy to poised champion … Couch is a terrific match for the author, partnering her plainspoken text with vivid visual lyricism … Boys and girls of all levels of athleticism will find much inspiration in these pages.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An excellent picture book biography, easily read out loud… Nothing but Trouble is a fine example of a book that combines the author’s and illustrator’s contributions seamlessly to create a greater whole.” –Children’s Literature Network
“There are scads of pink princess books for the girly-girls out there; this one is for those who, like Althea, just care about The Game. –The Horn Book Magazine
“Bursting across Couch’s impressionistic Harlem street scenes in a blaze of color, the rangy, grinning young Gibson—the first African-American tennis player, male or female, to win at Wimbledon—seems ready to jump right off the pages of this high-energy profile. Along with paying specific homage to some of the people who helped Gibson along the way, Stauffacher ascribes her passage from wild child to international celebrity to the acquisition of social as well as technical skills…plenty of readers, athletes or otherwise, will find this tribute to her fiery spirit inspirational.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Stauffacher and Couch have found something to say about Althea that hasn’t yet been said in the realm of children’s literature and their passion in bringing Althea’s passion to life is worth taking note of. So stand back now. I’m going to say something and I’m going to say it loud. This book not only pairs well with “Wilma Unlimited” by Kathleen Krull, it may have supplanted it in my brain as my new favorite picture book sports biography. A must read pick.” –Fuse #8 Review
Althea Gibson Information
- Official Althea Gibson website with biography, TV schedule, pictures, merchandise and information.
- Short biography of Althea Gibson in TeacherVision.com’s Encyclopedia of Prominent African Americans.
- USTA.com’s Black History Month: Althea Gibson.
Q & A with Sue Stauffacher
What attracted you to the story of Althea Gibson, and why did you choose to write about her life?
How did you go about researching Gibson’s life and the information for the book?
How long did it take you to write the book?
How do you like writing fiction vs. non-fiction?
What do you hope that young readers take away about Gibson after reading this book?
Greg Couch’s illustrations are truly remarkable. How did you feel about the artwork, and what it contributes to the overall package of the book?
Do you think you will write non-fiction books in the future?
What are your upcoming book projects?
Althea Gibson has been called the Jackie Robinson of tennis? Can you explain why?