Welcome to Lee & Low Books. We are an independent children's book publisher intensely focused on diversity. Peruse our site for books for school, school library, homeschooling, minority and Spanish children's books, free teacher reading resources for children, and much more!


The Hardcover edition of this title is out of stock.

You have been redirected to the
Paperback edition of the same title.

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku

By Ellie Crowe

Illustrated by Richard Waldrep


Growing up in Honolulu with the Pacific Ocean as his backyard, Duke Kahanamoku learned to swim and surf at a young age. By his early twenties, Duke's lightning-fast swimming won him a place on the 1912 United States Olympic team and a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle race. Over the years Duke struggled with racism and financial troubles, but by the end of his twenty-year Olympic career, he was a six-time medal winner.

Although a swimming champion, Duke's passion was surfing. He traveled the world, introducing surfboarding to Australia and the east and west coasts of the United States. Considered the father of modern surfing, Duke spread his love of the ocean and Hawai’i wherever he went.

Throughout his life Duke Kahanamoku was beloved for his modesty, sportsmanship, and amazing skill in the water. Today he remains a legendary waterman and an inspiration to all to live life with aloha.

aloha: love, kindness, grace, affection, compassion; also traditional Hawaiian greeting or farewell

Teacher's Guide

Children's Books of the Year
Bank Street College Children's Book Committee

"Starred Review"
School Library Journal

Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist
Texas Library Association (TLA)

Editor's Favorites
The Bloomsbury Review

Librarian's Choices
Texas Woman's University

More awards...
Interest Level
Grades 2 - 8
Reading Level
Grades 3 - 4
Asian/Asian American Interest, Biography, Discrimination, Overcoming Obstacles, Sports, Nonfiction, Poverty, Sports History
About the Creators

Ellie Crowe has written several children's books, as well as guidebooks to Hawai'i. Crowe first heard of Duke Kahanamoku while living in Australia. Moving to Hawai'i, she found Duke was a hero there too. "He is a great role model and I wanted to introduce him to young readers today," says Crowe. She lives in Honolulu with her husband and their three children. Visit her online at elliecrowe.com.

Richard Waldrep is an award-winning illustrator who has created images for editorial, publishing, advertising, and corporate clients, including U.S. News and World Report, the Washington Post, and Parker Brothers. His paintings honoring the Olympic Games, American music, and history have appeared on U.S. postage stamps. He lives in Sparks, Maryland.

Also Check Out
Clear Bookshelf Your Bookshelf help Add All to Cart