• by

As a girl, Brooklyn-born Rena Glickman—nicknamed Rusty for her red hair—did pushups and lifted weights with her older brother, becoming physically strong and mentally tough. Introduced to judo by a friend, she insinuated herself into an all-male judo class at the local YMCA, practiced endlessly, and developed her talent. She continuously faced discrimination and was never allowed to participate in competitions, but her relentless drive took her to Japan, where she was the first woman accepted at The Kodokan Judo Institute. After completing her training and marrying her judo partner, she returned to New York, where she opened a coed judo school and funded women’s judo competitions. Glickman lobbied tirelessly and successfully for women’s judo to become an Olympic event and served as the American Olympic team’s first coach. Catarevas presents the tale in clear, concise prose, with careful attention to the facts, and, with a sense of admiration, emphasizes Rusty’s determination and strength. Peluso’s mostly earth-toned illustrations are well matched to time periods, locations, and events, with stylized characters that display their personalities, reactions, and emotions via spot-on facial expressions and body language. There are some subtle skin-tone differences among judo participants and onlookers, but all characters present White except for Rusty’s Japanese husband and one Black member of the Olympic team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.