America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle

by David A. Adler and Terry Widener

Gertrude Ederle first learned to swim in 1913 when she was seven years old. By age... read more

Gertrude Ederle first learned to swim in 1913 when she was seven years old. By age fifteen, she had won her first big race. The following year, Ederle became the first woman to swim from Lower Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, a distance of 17 miles. Over the next few years, she set 29 U.S. and world records. After winning three gold medals at the 1924 Olympics, Gertrude became determined to be the first woman to swim the English Channel. The greater part of this engaging picture‑book biography focuses on her dramatic efforts to meet this challenge: after a failed attempt in 1925, Gertrude swam through stormy, treacherous waters the following year while her sister Margaret cheered her on. She both succeeded and beat the men’s record by almost two hours, inspiring newspaper reporters to proclaim the myth that women were the weaker sex had been “shattered and shattered forever.” The bold acrylic paintings include plenty of period details, aptly showing a strong, determined woman in her times. (Ages 7‑11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

show less