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My class was doing a biography unit with a focus on Americans who changed America. Of course many of the boys wanted sports figures. I knew Jesse Owans and Jackie Robinson, but one student asked for Arthur Ashe. He loved the book, and created a project and I learned about an important American I knew little about.
This comes from the Childhood of famous Americans series. This is the second book I've read out of this series and although it's a child's book (more for older elementary-middle school children) I have found them very interesting. Just like reading this one, I had never heard of Arthur Ashe or what he has done for the sport of tennis but mostly for the black community. The writer starts when young Arthur is just a tiny young boy and talks about his childhood and what he has to endure especially after his mother dies when he's still very young. His father tries raising him and his younger brother on his own but then gets help with a live in nanny. Then goes on to talk about how he's not able to play on the same areas as the white people and one day how he wants to. As fate has it he starts playing around with a tennis racket and balls and someone sees how good he is and then offers him lessons. They help him believe in himself through his tennis playing and throughout his lifetime that opens doors for him for tournaments and travel especially over seas. As a grown man he wants to help change the lives of those living in especially South Africa never imagining that Nelson Mandela who was in prison would be president of the country one day! This biography wasn't just about the game of tennis; it was about the courage and persistence of a young black man who wanted change for not only himself but for his race. As new laws were being made but not enforced he wanted to see that change happen and he did. It follows his story all the way to his death. Great book for tennis lovers, for people who enjoy reading about segregation and 'righting wrongs' or just for those that like the 'good guy wins in the end'. Am glad I checked the book out and read it
Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2013
This book tells the story of an African-American boy who hates the way blacks are treated inthe south. Arthur learns to overcome his anger by doing what he's good at - tennis - to break the racial barriers.