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The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

by Pat Zietlow Miller

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277994,202 (4.17)1
Growing up in the segregated town of Clarksville, Tennessee, in the 1960s, Alta's family cannot afford to buy her new sneakers--but she still plans to attend the parade celebrating her hero Wilma Rudolph's three Olympic gold medals.

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Nice story, about plucky kids and their rivals and their heroes. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
When Alta meets a girl with a competitive spirit and brand-new running shoes, she has to remind herself how three-time Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph overcame obstacles greater than worn-out sneakers. Author’s Note.
  NCSS | Jul 23, 2021 |
I really loved The Quickest Kid in Clarksville as it portrayed the aspirations of Alta, who is a fast runner aspiring to be like Wilma Rudolph who is from the same hometown as her. The characters throughout the story are extremely believable, with a well-paced plot centering around competing with other girls in her neighborhood and working together in order to get a banner to a parade. The language used isn’t all spelled correctly, using words such as ‘round, get ‘em, and ‘cause to give Alta and her friends tone. I really like this use of Informal language since it gives the reader a different perspective on different upbringings that may differ from their own. The story takes place in Alta’s point of view, describing her daily adventures running around her neighborhood. One day, she meets a new girl named Charmaine who challenges her, wearing a new pair of running shoes. The illustration of Alta’s shoes are raggedy and worn, allowing the reader to infer that her family doesn’t have a lot of money. I really enjoyed this detail as it enhances the story, allowing the reader to make the connection that she comes from a lower-class family, yet Alta’s attitude remains positive as she challenges Charmaine to a race. It also shows what type of character Alta has, which is someone who is strong and charismatic when faced with teasing or a challenge. After winning once and losing in a rematch, both Alta and Charmaine are at a stalemate. The illustrations clearly show this, as both girls facial expressions are filled with emotion, clearly showing that they both don’t like each other. The day of Wilma Rudolph’s parade rolls around, and Alta struggles to get the banner she made to the parade on time. Both Charmaine and Alta look past their differences and work together in order to accomplish it, discovering the value of teamwork and even having fun in the process. The book itself was very well-paced and the language chosen really draws the reader in to want to read more. It was very enjoying to see that even though the two main characters had differences, they pushed them aside and discovered that they make a good team despite their competitive nature.
The overall message of the book is the importance of putting aside differences in order to gain lasting relationships. As mentioned previously, both Alta and Charmain have a fierce competitive side that caused animosity between them. Yet, in times of need both of them can see past their differences in order to work towards a common goal. This is an important lesson as many readers (like myself) can be stubborn and hold onto grudges, shutting down the whole idea of ever liking your competition. Yet, this book highlights and celebrates exactly that, teaching readers that it’s okay to let go of your differences and befriend even the most unsuspecting of people. I really liked the message behind the lesson taught, making me highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a heartwarming, realistic story. ( )
  BichellS | Oct 2, 2018 |
This story takes place in 1960, where two girls were inspired by the African American sprinter Wilma Rudolph. These two girls ran and raced against each other because they looked up to Rudolph. Charmaine had new shoes to run in while Atla had old shoes, and it started off with the two of them competing against one another over shoes. The story ends with them realizing that it is not about shoes, but it is all about the mental capability and strength to use your own two feet. Although a theme for this story may be harder to decipher compared to other children's book, I would say it is not always about competing, but about working together. When the two girls were trying to race with a banner to go see Rudolph, they realized that they needed to run together to get the banner there in one piece. ( )
  ctran1 | Sep 7, 2018 |
Alta is inspired by Wilma Rudolph to be the fast kind in her town. She is so excited to get to see her come home from the Olympics until someone else comes in the picture and challenges her. Charmaine came strutting down the street with brand new shoes showing off to Alta, dee dee and little Mo. This really makes Alta discouraged because she doesn’t have a dad who can buy her brand new shoes. All she has was what was on her feet. Her toes were poking out that when they raced it made her get behind from hitting a rock. Finally Alta realized working together with Charmaine would make them both better and they all could be the fastest in Clarksville. Other than Wilma Rudolph something that pointed out to me that we were in a different time setting was when she talked about black and white faces there cheering for Wilma. This showed the time and setting
Of this book. The illustrations were great for showing the expressions on the characters faces. ( )
  mgcampb1 | Aug 30, 2018 |
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Growing up in the segregated town of Clarksville, Tennessee, in the 1960s, Alta's family cannot afford to buy her new sneakers--but she still plans to attend the parade celebrating her hero Wilma Rudolph's three Olympic gold medals.

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Growing up in the segregated town of Clarksville, Tennessee, in the 1960s, Alta's family cannot afford to buy her new sneakers--but she still plans to attend the parade celebrating her hero Wilma Rudolph's three Olympic gold medals
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