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She Persisted: Florence Griffith Joyner

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Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger, a chapter book series about women who stood up, spoke up and rose up against the odds!

In this chapter book biography by Rita Williams-Garcia, the award-winning author of One Crazy Summer, readers learn about the amazing life of three-time Olympic gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner--and how she persisted

Considered the fastest woman of all time, Florence Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo Jo, set two world records in 1988 that still stand today. But getting there wasn't easy, and Flo Jo had to overcome many challenges along the way.

Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Florence Griffith Joyner's footsteps and make a difference! A perfect choice for kids who love learning and teachers who want to bring inspiring women into their curriculum.

And don’t miss out on the rest of the books in the She Persisted series, featuring so many more women who persisted, including Harriet Tubman, Ruby Bridges, Oprah Winfrey, and more!

Praise for She Persisted: Florence Griffith Joyner:

"A quietly remarkable biographical read that encourages elementary students of any gender to take a closer look at the life of Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner and her admirable resolve to work hard in pursuit of her dreams." --School Library Journal
Rita Williams-Garcia (born 1957) is an American writer of young adult novels. She won the 2011 Newbery Honor Award, Coretta Scott King Award, and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for her book One Crazy Summer. She won the PEN/Norma Klein Award. Her book P.S. Be Eleven won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2014. In 2016 her book Gone Crazy in Alabama won the Coretta Scott King Award. View titles by Rita Williams-Garcia
© Photo courtesy of the author
Chelsea Clinton is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World; She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History; She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game; She Persisted in Science: Brilliant Women Who Made a Difference; Don't Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe; Welcome to the Big Kids Club; It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!; Start Now!: You Can Make a Difference; with Hillary Clinton, Grandma's Gardens and Gutsy Women; and, with Devi Sridhar, Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? She is also the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives, including those that help empower the next generation of leaders. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, and their children. You can follow Chelsea Clinton on Twitter @ChelseaClinton or on Facebook at facebook.com/ChelseaClinton. View titles by Chelsea Clinton
© Vanessa Blasich
Alexandra Boiger grew up in Munich, Germany as the youngest of seven children. She studied Graphic Design at the Fachhochschule Augsburg before working in Feature Animation at Warner Brothers and Dreamworks. After working in animation, Alexandra decided to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a children’s book illustrator. She has illustrated many picture books, including She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. Max and Marla was her debut as both author and illustrator. Alexandra now lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. View titles by Alexandra Boiger
Dear Reader,

As Sally Ride and Marian Wright Edelman both powerfully said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” When Sally Ride said that, she meant that it was hard to dream of being an astronaut, like she was, or a doctor or an athlete or anything at all if you didn’t see someone like you who already had lived that dream. She especially was talking about seeing women in jobs that historically were held by men. 

I wrote the first She Persisted and the books that came after it because I wanted young girls—and children of all genders—to see women who worked hard to live their dreams. And I wanted all of us to see examples of persistence in the face of different challenges to help inspire us in our own lives. 

I’m so thrilled now to partner with a sisterhood of writers to bring longer, more in-depth versions of these stories of women’s persistence and achievement to readers. I hope you enjoy these chapter books as much as I do and find them inspiring and empowering. 

And remember: If anyone ever tells you no, if anyone ever says your voice isn’t important or your dreams are too big, remember these women. They persisted and so should you.

Warmly,
Chelsea Clinton


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: A Girl Called Dee Dee
Chapter 2: Everything!
Chapter 3: Inches Away
Chapter 4: Bittersweet
Chapter 5: Going for the Gold
Chapter 6: Dreams and Beyond
How You Can Persist
References


Chapter 1
A Girl Called Dee Dee


Florence Griffith Joyner was an Olympic champion who won gold medals and broke world records as a sprinter. But before there was Florence Griffith Joyner, or “Flo-Jo,” there was a girl called Dee Dee.

Long before she was born, her newly married parents, Robert and Florence Delores Griffith, lived in a small town in the Mojave Desert, where their family grew. The Mojave Desert spans from southeastern Los Angeles, California, to parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah, and the Griffith family lived in the area near Los Angeles. The Mojave Desert is a hot, dry, wide-open space with mountain ranges, sagebrush and red desert blooms on tops of prickly cactus plants. The calls of owls, coyotes and bobcats peppered the night air. In the daytime the Griffiths’ backyard was plentiful with lizards, snakes, slow-moving tortoises, fast jackrabbits—and kids!

In 1959, Christmas came early for the six Griffith children. On December 21st, Bobby, Weldon, Vivian, Kathleen, Robert and Elizabeth welcomed their seventh sibling, Delorez Florence Griffith, into the family.

Delorez Florence Griffith was named after her mother, Florence Delores. Mrs. Griffith wanted her daughter to be her own unique self. So, her first name, Delorez, had its own spelling, and Florence was her middle name. The Griffiths took to calling their newest family member Dee Dee.

Mrs. Griffith saw something special in each of her seven children. In Dee Dee she saw a child who seemed to float like a ballerina as she moved. But Dee Dee was also speedy and earned another nickname, Lightning, as she ran through the house.

Mr. and Mrs. Griffith found ways to keep their children’s minds and bodies active. Mrs. Griffith, a fast runner, played racing games with her children. She would line them up and call, “Ready, set, go!” Off they’d run! Even though Dee Dee’s brothers and sisters were older, that didn’t stop Dee Dee from racing to win.
Praise for She Persisted: Florence Griffith Joyner:

"A quietly remarkable biographical read that encourages elementary students of any gender to take a closer look at the life of Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner and her admirable resolve to work hard in pursuit of her dreams." --School Library Journal

About

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger, a chapter book series about women who stood up, spoke up and rose up against the odds!

In this chapter book biography by Rita Williams-Garcia, the award-winning author of One Crazy Summer, readers learn about the amazing life of three-time Olympic gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner--and how she persisted

Considered the fastest woman of all time, Florence Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo Jo, set two world records in 1988 that still stand today. But getting there wasn't easy, and Flo Jo had to overcome many challenges along the way.

Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Florence Griffith Joyner's footsteps and make a difference! A perfect choice for kids who love learning and teachers who want to bring inspiring women into their curriculum.

And don’t miss out on the rest of the books in the She Persisted series, featuring so many more women who persisted, including Harriet Tubman, Ruby Bridges, Oprah Winfrey, and more!

Praise for She Persisted: Florence Griffith Joyner:

"A quietly remarkable biographical read that encourages elementary students of any gender to take a closer look at the life of Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner and her admirable resolve to work hard in pursuit of her dreams." --School Library Journal

Author

Rita Williams-Garcia (born 1957) is an American writer of young adult novels. She won the 2011 Newbery Honor Award, Coretta Scott King Award, and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for her book One Crazy Summer. She won the PEN/Norma Klein Award. Her book P.S. Be Eleven won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2014. In 2016 her book Gone Crazy in Alabama won the Coretta Scott King Award. View titles by Rita Williams-Garcia
© Photo courtesy of the author
Chelsea Clinton is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World; She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History; She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game; She Persisted in Science: Brilliant Women Who Made a Difference; Don't Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe; Welcome to the Big Kids Club; It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!; Start Now!: You Can Make a Difference; with Hillary Clinton, Grandma's Gardens and Gutsy Women; and, with Devi Sridhar, Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? She is also the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives, including those that help empower the next generation of leaders. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, and their children. You can follow Chelsea Clinton on Twitter @ChelseaClinton or on Facebook at facebook.com/ChelseaClinton. View titles by Chelsea Clinton
© Vanessa Blasich
Alexandra Boiger grew up in Munich, Germany as the youngest of seven children. She studied Graphic Design at the Fachhochschule Augsburg before working in Feature Animation at Warner Brothers and Dreamworks. After working in animation, Alexandra decided to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a children’s book illustrator. She has illustrated many picture books, including She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. Max and Marla was her debut as both author and illustrator. Alexandra now lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. View titles by Alexandra Boiger

Excerpt

Dear Reader,

As Sally Ride and Marian Wright Edelman both powerfully said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” When Sally Ride said that, she meant that it was hard to dream of being an astronaut, like she was, or a doctor or an athlete or anything at all if you didn’t see someone like you who already had lived that dream. She especially was talking about seeing women in jobs that historically were held by men. 

I wrote the first She Persisted and the books that came after it because I wanted young girls—and children of all genders—to see women who worked hard to live their dreams. And I wanted all of us to see examples of persistence in the face of different challenges to help inspire us in our own lives. 

I’m so thrilled now to partner with a sisterhood of writers to bring longer, more in-depth versions of these stories of women’s persistence and achievement to readers. I hope you enjoy these chapter books as much as I do and find them inspiring and empowering. 

And remember: If anyone ever tells you no, if anyone ever says your voice isn’t important or your dreams are too big, remember these women. They persisted and so should you.

Warmly,
Chelsea Clinton


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: A Girl Called Dee Dee
Chapter 2: Everything!
Chapter 3: Inches Away
Chapter 4: Bittersweet
Chapter 5: Going for the Gold
Chapter 6: Dreams and Beyond
How You Can Persist
References


Chapter 1
A Girl Called Dee Dee


Florence Griffith Joyner was an Olympic champion who won gold medals and broke world records as a sprinter. But before there was Florence Griffith Joyner, or “Flo-Jo,” there was a girl called Dee Dee.

Long before she was born, her newly married parents, Robert and Florence Delores Griffith, lived in a small town in the Mojave Desert, where their family grew. The Mojave Desert spans from southeastern Los Angeles, California, to parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah, and the Griffith family lived in the area near Los Angeles. The Mojave Desert is a hot, dry, wide-open space with mountain ranges, sagebrush and red desert blooms on tops of prickly cactus plants. The calls of owls, coyotes and bobcats peppered the night air. In the daytime the Griffiths’ backyard was plentiful with lizards, snakes, slow-moving tortoises, fast jackrabbits—and kids!

In 1959, Christmas came early for the six Griffith children. On December 21st, Bobby, Weldon, Vivian, Kathleen, Robert and Elizabeth welcomed their seventh sibling, Delorez Florence Griffith, into the family.

Delorez Florence Griffith was named after her mother, Florence Delores. Mrs. Griffith wanted her daughter to be her own unique self. So, her first name, Delorez, had its own spelling, and Florence was her middle name. The Griffiths took to calling their newest family member Dee Dee.

Mrs. Griffith saw something special in each of her seven children. In Dee Dee she saw a child who seemed to float like a ballerina as she moved. But Dee Dee was also speedy and earned another nickname, Lightning, as she ran through the house.

Mr. and Mrs. Griffith found ways to keep their children’s minds and bodies active. Mrs. Griffith, a fast runner, played racing games with her children. She would line them up and call, “Ready, set, go!” Off they’d run! Even though Dee Dee’s brothers and sisters were older, that didn’t stop Dee Dee from racing to win.

Praise

Praise for She Persisted: Florence Griffith Joyner:

"A quietly remarkable biographical read that encourages elementary students of any gender to take a closer look at the life of Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner and her admirable resolve to work hard in pursuit of her dreams." --School Library Journal

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