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Trudy’s Big Swim: How Gertrude Ederle Swam the English Channel and Took the World by Storm — 18 Comments

  1. A reference book during a Biography Unit…Non Fiction Text Features…the power of the movement and history that women made a difference and shared their voices through action. The feat that Trudy successfully completed. A great reference book to work with TIMELINES from then to now. The topic of men vs. women power and opportunity. 4 stars.

  2. I really enjoyed this book. I liked that it had one message — How Trudy swam across the English Channel. Not her whole life story. We ask students to pick one moment in their lives to write about and then provide all the supporting details. This would be an inspirational mentor text. I would certainly love to add this to my classroom library collection.

  3. I found this book exciting; not knowing what could happen with the jellyfish or the waves that were becoming harder to handle. The message I took away was positive. She was strong, physically, of course but also mentally. When they added five miles onto her route, she didn’t question her ability, it was just a given that she would try. I think kids will enjoy seeing and reading the pages about eating fried chicken in the middle of the channel and how her family sang songs to her to keep her spirits up. The page when she stood on the English shore was triumphant and it will bring a smile to the faces of the readers. The Afterword just shows how strong Trudy was, being completely deaf and told she might never walk again. She lived life until 98 and was impressive!

  4. Loved this one too. I would use this with our Famous People Wax museum and as a read aloud. Since it is swimming it is a bit easier for kids to relate to rather than figure skating or sky diving, etc. I liked that this too had the author note at the end of the book to provide more info. It was especially interesting that she went on to work with deaf children after she herself became deaf at 22 and recovered from a back injury at 25. It goes to show that if you try hard you can succeed and you also can give to others using your strengths. *****

  5. Another great book about young girls/women working hard to achieve their goals. Interesting information on how one must adapt to conditions when swimming the English Channel and how a direct course is not always possible. Also loved the additional information provided by the author, including the sidenote about other athletic accomplishments in that decade. The illustrations, especially the front cover, were so realistic – I almost took it as a photograph at first. Great book.

  6. This is a great book to use when learning to write informative texts. Because this book is about swimming, students will connect to the information and it will spark ideas for their own writing. It’s another great read that shows how hard work and determination can help you achieve your goals.
    4 stars

  7. I really liked this book. The author did such a marvelous job of telling an amazing story while relating history. I thought that the women in sports history was an interesting perspective. The afterword was quite interesting, and I think I would certainly use this text feature with the students.
    5 stars

  8. Matt Collins made this a beautiful book. The front cover makes it look like she is swimming right towards you (although, I did wonder initially if she had a missing arm, due to how he painted her right arm out of the water). I was surprised to see Trudy in a two piece suit, but in the Afterward it explained that she really did wear a two piece. Page 26-27 that showed Trudy standing at Kingsdown Beach with the spotlight shining on her and the crowds cheering as she is raising her arms in triumph could be a poster for determination, accomplishment, etc. Students will relate to her wanting to do something no one has done before, but then being nervous and not knowing if she could finish. They will also latch on to p. 16-17 where Trudy can’t touch the boat or other people, so gets food in a net and chicken broth in a baby bottle. I would’ve liked an explanation of the words on the ship, “This Way, Ole Kid!” — was that something her father would say to her, was it her rallying cry, was just a funny thing to make her laugh? One of those details that I would’ve liked more information on. The sports highlights on the 1920s were fun to read on both the front and back covers. I would’ve liked more photos of Trudy — the newspapers through the hotel windows were a great touch, but didn’t show much of Trudy. While Collins’s illustrations are beautiful, I like having photos in a nonfiction book. Instead of the illustration of her in the bathtub, it would’ve been nice to have an actual photo of her during/after her swim in that spot.

  9. This book has a lot of great background information in the Afterword and the Author’s Note. There also is more information given in the front and back covers, Sources and Source Notes, and Acknowledgments. I am glad she focused her attention on the swim, which made it very child-friendly! I found the additional information fascinating and historically accurate. The illustrations were fantastic! Trudy’s Big Swim is a wonderful, 5 star book!

  10. Great book! Beautiful illustrations! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Trudy and the journey to swimming the English Channel. I appreciated the Afterword about Trudy. A great book to inspire hard work to reach one’s dreams. This is another good book to use for our history night. I rate this a 5.

  11. I liked this book, but was a little shocked by how short it is. Which isn’t a bad thing, in fact I really liked that the book focused primarily on the Channel swim. It would be a good example to use with kids for writing about a historical or factual event. I would recommend it for curriculum use, I think it would be a good addition to any non-fiction unit. I also this children would enjoy reading it for pleasure.
    ****

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What an incredible human was Trudy! The story of her conquering the English channel and beating the fastest man’s time by 2 hours is amazing but I felt even more so was what I learned about her by reading the afterward. I think this would be a great book to share in a classroom or for a display during women’s history month or the Olympics. It has curriculum ties for history and social studies and would make for an interesting compare and contrast of women in sports/Olympics then vs now. 5/5 stars

  13. This is an excellent story. It is well written and illustrated. The author’s note and the afterword at the back of the book are very helpful to understanding that time in history. 2nd and 3rd graders would enjoy it. I’d use it when we discuss strong women in history.

  14. Before I say anything else, I want to applaud the illustrator, Matt Collins, for the cover illustration: she is looking right at the reader and will totally pull kids in!
    I would use this book to talk to students about determination, and doing something for the accomplishment of doing it, not necessarily for fame. Beyond what is mentioned in the main text, the back matter mentions that the fame was actually the opposite of what Trudy wanted. I think this could be an interesting discussion to have in our society today where so many people are fame-seeking.
    I would also want to have students think about what you would have to do to prepare for an athletic accomplishment like this. I would also want to have an example of how far 21 miles is (find two nearby towns that are about that distance apart to help them try and think about how far she swam.
    4.5 stars

  15. I loved the illustrations in this book. I’m not sure I would use it as a free read book, but would defiantly use it whole group. This book would be great to use at the beginning of the year to introduce personal goals. We would discuss how she set a goal and never gave up, even when it got hard. I give this book 4 stars.

  16. This is a amazing book on determination, persistence, and courage not only for girls but for all students. Gertrude was a noted athlete with a goal. With the encouragement of family and her coach she fulfilled her dream. This can inspire teachers and students to set goals and assist others in accomplishing them. Trudy’s loss of hearing in life is also a story of never giving up despite physical set backs. This story could be paired with setting reasonably attainable classroom goals at the beginning of the school year or semester. Then gather students responses to what the outcome was, how they felt, who or what benefited the outcome.
    This could also lead into studying the opening of sports to women and people of color.
    I liked the short list of 1920’s sports highlights in the front cover. ****

  17. I LOVED this book!!! What an amazing story of a woman who worked so hard to achieve her dream. This would be a GREAT book to read to students to show how dreams can come true if you work reallly hard. It is also important for girls to see women role models. This woman worked so hard and at the end of the book it talks more about her life and even more obstacles she faced. She led an amazing life. I would use this in curriculum as a read a loud and open a discussion about what everyone’s dreams are. I would then have students write stories about what they would like to do and how they could achieve it.
    I rate this book 5 stars

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