Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias

WALLACE, Rich & . 272p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Calkins Creek. Mar. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781590789810. LC 2013953471.
Gr 5 Up—The Wallaces pair up to tackle a great historical sports figure in this engrossing biography. Mildred Ella "Babe" Didriksen Zaharias may not be as well-known as Babe Ruth, but she broke countless records, leaped over age-old boundaries, and paved the way for professional women athletes across several arenas. A champion basketball player, an Olympic track-and-field star, and career golfer, Babe didn't let obstacles stand in the way of her success. The authors detail her trajectory from the daughter of a Norwegian immigrant born in a working-class Texas neighborhood to record wins at the 1932 Olympics (still not broken to this day) to her last days as she fought cancer. Chapters are organized around the various hurdles she faced ("Babe vs. The Boys," "Babe vs. Tradition"). Text is broken up by illuminating quotations and dynamic period photos. Ample historical background is interlaced within the narrative, giving context that will help readers understand Didriksen Zaharias's lasting impact. Especially engaging are the anecdotes that illustrate the subject's faults as well as her strengths: Babe's showmanship and drive often alienated her teammates, but her strength and leadership also enabled her to provide for her ailing parents and impoverished siblings. Extensive back matter makes this title perfect for reports, and this exemplar text should be a staple for all collections looking to diversify their biography, sports, and women's history offerings.—Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal
Ten riveting "rounds" profile Babe Didrikson Zaharias, one of the world's most remarkable athletes. Born in 1911, Babe excelled at basketball, track and field, baseball, and (most notably) golf, setting world records and playing professionally at a time when women athletes were rare. Her lasting legacy includes co-founding today's Ladies Professional Golf Association. Plentiful archival photos show Babe in action. Timeline, websites. Bib., ind.

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