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Trudy's big swim : how Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel and took the world by storm
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A suspenseful retelling of the story of Gertrude Ederle's famous 1926 swim across the English Channel describes how she overcame difficult environmental, physical and cultural challenges to become the first woman to establish her historic record. - (Baker & Taylor)

On the morning of August 6, 1926, Gertrude Ederle stood in her bathing suit on the beach at Cape Gris-Nez, France, and faced the churning waves of the English Channel. Twenty-one miles across the perilous waterway, the English coastline beckoned. Lyrical text, stunning illustrations and fascinating back matter put the reader right alongside Ederle in her bid to be the first woman to swim the Channel—and contextualizes her record-smashing victory as a defining moment in sports history. Time line, bibliography, source notes. - (Holiday House)

Author Biography

Sue Macy has written many critically acclaimed books about sports and fearless women. She lives in Englewood, New Jersey. Visit her at

Matt Collins has illustrated numerous books for children. His art has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated for Kids. Visit him at - (Random House, Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

"England or drown is my motto." That's the statement 19-year-old Gertrude (Trudy) Ederle gives reporters the day before she swims the almost 21-mile stretch from France to England via the English Channel. The New York Times calls Trudy "the greatest freestyle swimmer of her sex ever developed." Quite an honorable compliment for a young woman during a time "when female athletes were finally starting to make headlines on the sports page." Trudy's well-deserved accolades go beyond gender recognition as she successfully traverses the channel faster than anyone—man or woman. Highlighting dramatic moments in Trudy's epic August 1926 performance, Macy's riveting narrative is a pleasant balance of storytelling and factual information. Collins brings the story to life with his stunning double-page scenes and mixed-media illustrations, capturing the highs and lows of her daring journey across the English Channel. Facial close-ups reveal dramatic moments of Trudy's persistence in tackling the channel's notorious weather changes. Time lines, resources, an afterword, and a special author's note on corrected factual information bring this thorough work of nonfiction to close. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 2–4—Prolific writer Macy has created a visually stunning picture book biography of Olympian Gertrude Ederle's history-making swim across the English Channel in 1926. Collins's Prismacolor pencils on vellum illuminate the hazards of the 21-mile swim: jellyfish, sharks, driftwood, and strong currents, as well as the logistics of eating during the 14-hour endeavor. Two hundred people had previously attempted the swim prior to Ederle, and only 12 had made it, all of whom were men. Ederle was a teenage success story, winning one gold and two bronze medals at the 1924 Olympics. Readers will be enthralled to discover how she kept warm, battled leg cramps, and kept her spirits up and how she actually swam 35 more miles because the current threw her off course. The afterword and author's note are what really make this work stand out from others. This is one of the few titles to mention that Ederle was not in fact a teen at the time of the crossing. She had already turned 20, but saying she was a teenager made her feat even more impressive, so the media ran with it. Ederle's life after the crossing was just as remarkable. She was nearly deaf after age 22, and a back injury hampered her chances of walking or swimming again. But Ederle continued to walk and eventually taught swimming to deaf children, living to the ripe old age of 98. Back matter includes additional context on the politics and culture of the United States in the 1920s.

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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