Surfer of the Century

By Horn Book Guide

Crowe’s respectful picture-book biography brings to light a seminal figure in the history of surfing and Olympic swimming. . . Crowe chooses not to make the racism the focus of Duke’s story but shows through understatement the huge emotional impact discrimination had on the native Hawaiian swimmer. What emerges is a portrait of a man whose humility, good nature, and hard work allowed him to forge a path of success despite a background completely lacking in privilege. Crowe also defines Duke as an innovator who broke Olympic speed records, introduced surfing to Australia, and increased surfing’s popularity around the world… overall, the book is an inspiring and absorbing account. Waldrep’s paintings convey both dignity and dynamism, with ocean scenes hurtling from pages awash in sunlight.