Monday, March 24, 2014
Non-Fiction Monday: Babe Conquers the World: the legendary life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Babe Conquers the World: the legendary life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace. 272 p. Calkins Creek/ Boyds Mills Press, March, 2014. 9781590789810.
Mildred Ella Didriksen was born on the same day a barge exploded in Port Arthur, Texas. She was the sixth child of Ole Nickolene Didriksen (Babe later changed the spelling) and his wife, Hannah Marie. Ole immigrated to the United States from Norway and struggled to earn a living for his wife and seven children. Babe was the sixth. It wasn't long before Babe began challenging the boys for a place on the sandlot.
In nine chapters, named rounds, the Wallaces chronicle the hurdles Babe overcame as she challenged notions of gender in sports. The final hurdle she faced was colon cancer. While she eventually succumbed, she proved the doctors who said she would never play golf again, wrong.
The stuff of Babe's life is legend and the storytelling pretty much lets the legend speak for herself. The authors provide historical context and comparisons that help young readers, who have grown up seeing women compete in sports, understand just how courageous Babe Didrikson was. A pleasing font, plenty of white space and tons of photographs enhance the interest. I also loved the many quotes by Babe, her friends and family. "Babe never saw a person in her life, male or female, she was afraid of."
The volume concludes with a timeline, FAQ pages, numerous source notes and nearly three pages of bibliography. A fantastic addition to the biography collection!
Be sure to visit the Non-Fiction Monday blog for more notable non-fiction titles.