PPBF: The Quickest Kid In Clarksville

Happy Friday; my retirement plant started blooming again this week, on the day that marked the anniversary of my decision to leave my school-house comfort zone and start my encore career, so it has me at once savoring and pondering. 
Can it really be that it's two years already? 

I can't help but think that this year's retirees might be craving closure in a way that this unusual time didn't afford them, so I'm praying for their peace and provision as they close one chapter and open another. If it's anything like my first days, weeks, months and years away from my school family, it'll likely be an interesting time of grief, loss, longing, transition, reflection and growth.

Time now to focus our attention to today's PPBF.

Title: The Quickest Kid In Clarksville
Author: Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrator: Frank Morrison
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Birth Date: February 9, 2016
Suitable for: ages 5-8
Themes: dreams, determination, friendship
Brief synopsis: It's almost time for the parade, the one that's going to spotlight Olympic sprinter and three-time gold medalist Wilma Rudolph, and Alta can't wait because she, like Wilma, is super fast. But might she have some competition when Charmaine moves to town and challenges her to a race?
Opening page: I'm running in place, listening to my feet pound the pavement. Pretending I'm the fastest woman in the world. Of course, Wilma Rudolph-who grew up right in this town-is faster than anyone. But I'm the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee. And everyone around here knows it. 

Read all about it on its information sheet {here}.
Get info on the paperback version at Scholastic {here}.
See why Kirkus calls it sweet and inspiring {here}.
Purchase some no-prep enrichment activities {here}.

Why I like this book: This sweet story has so many layers. First, a young protagonist with high hopes and a hometown hero but also some hurdles as evidenced by the holes in her running shoes. Then there's conflict, too, when a worthy competitor comes to town, to challenge her to a race. But will it shake her confidence? There's a fall and a spat, but the two speedsters slowly come around to a fun fact: They're better together. And in the end, it's not about the brand-new shoes or even your place on the podium, but instead, what can be accomplished when friends {and competitors} collaborate for the greater good.

Alta runs fast despite the holes in her shoes. Ask your learners to talk or write about a time that they overcame an obstacle. What was that experience like for them? How did it make them a better person? How about a better friend or citizen?

Compare and contrast with She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton. Use it as a springboard to talk about traits like determination, perseverance, resilience, and grit. How did Wilma Rudolph show these traits? How about Alta? And Charmaine?

Research people from your town, county, or state who have achieved something that you have your heart set on. What did they have to do to reach their goals? How can you use what you've learned from them to help you reach your goals?

This book provides a beautiful opportunity for you and your students to set a goal using Gabrielle Oettingen's WOOP {Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan} dream-realization framework. Then share it publicly and hold one another accountable.

So much goodness; thank you, dear reader, for stopping by.

Susanna Hill has a fun PPBF pick today, 
so head to her blog next.


  1. I adore the many books and biographies of African American women who have achieved so much in their lives. Such wonderful role models for little girls.

    As for retirement, it took me some years before I decided to reinvent myself. My circumstances were very different than yours. I love what I'm doing more now than my career. You are so outgoing and love working with children -- and you miss seeing them terribly. But you'll find a way! You're still young.

  2. I've heard PZM talk about how this story evolved over time. If I recall correctly, it took her awhile to figure out its structure and way in. So often, once you've discovered these keys, the writing becomes much easier.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!