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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
Children's Books of the Year
Bank Street College Children's Book Committee
School Library Journal
Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist
Texas Library Association (TLA)
The Bloomsbury Review
Texas Woman's University
- Interest Level
- Grades 2 - 8
- Reading Level
- Grades 3 - 4
- Asian/Asian American Interest, Biography, Discrimination, Overcoming Obstacles, Sports, Nonfiction, Poverty, Sports History
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.