There Goes Patti McGee!: The Story of the First Women’s National Skateboard Champion

Farrar. Feb. 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374313999.
K-Gr 4–This empowering picture book biography centers on Patti McGee, a white girl from California who was the first professional female skateboarder and winner of the 1964 National Skateboard Championship for Women. When McGee observed some skateboarders from her window, she was so intrigued that she removed the wheels from her skates to fashion her own skateboard. She practiced relentlessly and soon outgrew her handmade board. However, she was unable to afford a store-bought one. When she saw a poster advertising the formation of a team and the promise of a free skateboard to each member, McGee was determined to join. Spying on the boys, she mastered their moves and added a few of her own. Her hard work paid off—she earned a place on the team. Later, McGee’s teammates convinced her to try out for the National Skateboard Championship. She perfected her signature rolling handstand and wowed the crowd and the judges. The succinct, engaging text pairs well with the bold action shots of the barefoot blonde. One page features the brave girl falling, applying copious bandages to her arms and legs, and getting back on the board. Aspiring sports enthusiasts will glean many important messages here: Girls can and should compete with boys; perseverance and practice pay off; you don’t need money or fancy equipment to master a sport; and it’s important to have fun. Technical terms such as nose wheel, kick turn, and fakie are sprinkled throughout. An afterword, author’s note, and source list provide more information.
VERDICT An inspirational read-aloud for all collections.

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