“The Quickest Kid Clarksville” 
By Pat Zietlow Miller; Illustrated By Frank Morrison

It’s the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She’ll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn’t matter that Alta’s shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.


About the Author

Pat Zietlow Miller knew she wanted to be a writer ever since her seventh-grade. Pat started out as a newspaper reporter, and now she writes insurance information by day and children’s books by night. Her first picture book, SOPHIE’S SQUASH, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf was released in 2013 from Schwartz & Wade. It won the Golden Kite Award for picture book text from the SCBWI and was named a Charlotte Zolotow and an Ezra Jack Keats honor book.Her New York Times bestselling BE KIND, illustrated by Jen Hill (Roaring Brook), WIDE-AWAKE BEAR illustrated by Jean Kim (HarperCollins) and LORETTA’S GIFT, illustrated by Alea Marley (Little Bee) were published in 2018. Pat has one wonderful husband, two delightful daughters and two pampered cats lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Read Aloud Tips

  • Show students a video, magazine article, or photo of Wilma Rudolph. Explain her significance in sports history.
  • Have students identify other famous athletes who broke cultural and society boundaries. Ask students to note what makes these athletes so admirable.
  • Introduce the book, author and illustrations.
  • Have students draw themselves as an athlete.

“Miller’s girl-power story also tucks in some nice observations on friendship. Morrison’s watercolor illustrations are vibrant and evocative, capturing the thrill and pride in this African-American community for its famous daughter. A helpful author’s note adds context. Sweet and inspiring.” – Kirkus Reviews

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