This (true) story is an inspiration to adults and children, alike. And it is beautifully illustrated to boot. I found the book on a trip to Hawaii and fell in love with the images. I was familiar with Duke Kahanamoku, but not with all the details of his life. I was therefore pleased to learn so much from this story, aimed at children. Well written. My friends' kids loved it. I bought two copies for myself; one to keep and one to cut up and frame, as the illustrations are so exceptionally lovely.
Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic gold medalist, the father of modern surfing, and an icon of Hawaiian culture.
Crowe tells the story of Kahanamoku's boyhood in Honolulu where daily swims in the ocean developed his strength and technique. Qualifying for the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, he made friends with another American athlete, Jim Thorpe.
Duke almost missed his first Olympic race because he overslept. In a wonderful display of Olympic spirit, his chief competitor, Cecil Helay, from Australia, refused to swim unless the officials let Duke compete. Such magnanimity is hard to imagine in today's endorsement rich, high-stakes winner-takes-home the-Wheaties-box environment.
He popularized surfing and promoted Hawaii all his life. Duke's Creed of Aloha is a fitting ending to an excellent biography of a man who always exhibited good sportsmanship and Olympic ideals.
Richard Waldrep perfectly illustrates the story with wonderous full color illustrations that evoke vintage art deco travel posters.
Duke Kahanamoku, widely regarded as the person who spread the popularity of modern surfing, also won six Olympic medals over the course of swimming career. This fascinating book tells the story of Duke's upbringing on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu and his quick progression up the ranks to become Hawaii's fastest young swimmer and later an Olympic champion. He also promoted the sport of surfing, which was previously only known in Hawaii, in Australia and the United States, and he introduced the idea of using surfboards for rescue and lifeguard operations. Woven throughout the interesting biographical account are powerful economics lessons related to scarcity and discrimination. Financial constraints and barriers associated with racism contributed to the challenges that Duke faced in his quest to compete internationally and become the "fastest swimmer in the world."
Who brought surfing to Australia? Who invented the Hawaiian flutterkick? Who was the first Hawaiian to win an Olympic medal? Who was sheriff of Oahu for over two decades? Who championed the use of a paddleboard for ocean rescues?
Duke Kahanamoku, that's who.
Ellie Crowe describes Kahanamoku's accomplishments in her book, Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku. The writing is concise, and the illustrations by Richard Waldrep are very complementary to the text. By its very nature, this book is a summary, meant as a general overview of Kahanamoku, probably for kids aged 10-12, but interesting for all who want to know more about Duke.
Kahanamoku is really a "feel good" story, and Crowe makes note of both his insecurities and his extraordinary accomplishments.
This is such an interesting story! My 9-year-old son read it all in one sitting, which is rare! It's about Duke Kahanamoku, the swimmer and surfer who brought surfing to the world. It's fascinating to read about how he went to Australia and the aussies were amazed to see him ride waves on a board. His trials to get into the Olympics as a swimmer are also really interesting- Duke had such an unusual life. The book is very well-written, and each story from Duke's life draws you in. The illustrations are really nice too- lots of blue ocean. It's a very attractive book, with different colored pages where the writing is, which is something I haven't seen in a book before. Gorgeous!