Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Jesse Owens

A Picture Book of Jesse Owens

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  Robert Casilla 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 1993   ISBN: 978-0823410668

Jesse Owens was born on a small sharecropper farm in Oakville, Alabama. He lived in a small house with his parents and his many siblings, and life was very hard for them all. Their situation got a little better when they moved to Cleveland in Ohio, but the Owenses were still very poor.

When Jesse started high school, the school’s gym teacher and track team coach, Charles Riley, saw that Jesse had great potential as a runner. He encouraged Jesse and helped him to train. It wasn’t long before Jesse started to break track-and-field records, and in 1936, when he was in his early twenties, Jessie Owens went to Berlin to compete in the Olympic Games. He won four gold medals, and proved to the world that he was an athlete who rose to greatness despite his humble beginnings.

This well written picture book biography will give young readers an excellent picture of what the great Jesse Owens was like. The narrative is easy to follow, and at the back of the book an author’s note gives readers further information about Jesse Owens’ athletic achievements.