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Nov 01st

Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson by Sue Stauffacher, Illustrated by Greg Couch

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"Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson" by Sue Stauffacher, Illustrated by Greg Couch

As a kid, you probably know how easy it is to get into trouble.
You know what happens. A thought, a place, an action all seemed like a good idea at the time. You go ahead and do what you're gonna do and before you know it, you've messed up big-time.
The grown-ups in your life probably shake their heads. If you're such a rotten kid now, they wonder, what will you be like when you're an adult?
As a kid, you probably know how easy it is to get into trouble.
You know what happens. A thought, a place, an action all seemed like a good idea at the time. You go ahead and do what you're gonna do and before you know it, you've messed up big-time.

The grown-ups in your life probably shake their heads. If you're such a rotten kid now, they wonder, what will you be like when you're an adult?

Grown-ups wondered that same thing about Althea Gibson when she was a kid. Althea was like a tornado of energy, and in the new book "Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson" by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Greg Couch, you'll see that young troublemakers really can turn out better than okay.

Everybody around Harlem knew Althea Gibson, and they all said the same thing: That girl is too wild. She's got no control. She can't keep her head straight, and she doesn't pay attention.

The girl was nothing but trouble.

Even Althea's family said it, but Althea was too busy running and playing street sports to be concerned. The Game, you see, was absolutely the most important thing in Althea Gibson's life.

Whether it was with a stick, a ball, a hoop, or a paddle, Althea was right in the middle of every game around. All the kids knew that, and one day, a play leader on 143rd Street learned it, too. Buddy Walker saw something in Althea that nobody else noticed. He saw potential.

He bought Althea her first tennis racquet and he made it possible for her to play on real tennis courts. He introduced her to people who could channel her talents in the right direction. Others began helping her control her wildness and her temper. Soon, Althea was defeating others on the court on a regular basis. In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first African American to compete and win at Wimbledon.

And that is nothing but triumph.

Let's face it: getting into trouble is hard to resist, especially when you're a kid. "Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson" shows kids that even the most incorrigible troublemaker can channel endless mischief into something positive and fun.
In this book, author Sue Stauffacher tells the little-known story of Althea Gibson's early life and the mentor who saw a spark of talent to nurture, but the real appeal here - particularly to small children - are the illustrations by Greg Couch.

Done mostly in black-and-white, these drawings show Althea Gibson with a rainbow of colors sparking from her, vividly suggesting her non-stop motion, her electricity, and her energy. There will be no doubt in your mind or that of your kids where the action and focus of this story is, which makes this a book younger kids will reach for again and again.

If you've got a 5-to-10-year-old mischief-maker around, sit him or her down with this book, help find a mentor, and see what happens. For them, "Nothing but Trouble" will be nothing but inspiring.

"Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson" by Sue Stauffacher, Illustrated by Greg Couch
c.2007, Alfred A. Knopf $16.99 / $21.99 Canada 40 pages


 

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