There Goes Patti McGee!: The Story of the First Women's National Skateboard Champion

by Tootie Nienow (Author) Erika Rodriguez Medina (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

An Amazon Book of the Month
2022 Texas Library Association's Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List Pick

Tootie Nienow's There Goes Patti McGee! is an uplifting picture book biography of the first-ever professional female skateboarder and winner of the 1964 National Skateboard Championship for Women.

Brought to life by Erika Medina's dynamic and joyful illustrations, There Goes Patti McGee! walks us through Patti first place win in the women's division of the 1964 National Skateboard Championship. She wowed the judges with with what would become her signature move--the rolling handstand. Inspiring and unapologetic, Patti McGee proves that anyone can skate.

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Kirkus Reviews

This energetic portrait of the first highly recognized female skateboarder highlights her innovation and skill.  

School Library Journal

K-Gr 4--This empowering picture book biography centers on Patti McGee, a white girl from California who was the first professional female skateboarder and winner of the 1964 National Skateboard Championship for Women. When McGee observed some skateboarders from her window, she was so intrigued that she removed the wheels from her skates to fashion her own skateboard. She practiced relentlessly and soon outgrew her handmade board. However, she was unable to afford a store-bought one. When she saw a poster advertising the formation of a team and the promise of a free skateboard to each member, McGee was determined to join. Spying on the boys, she mastered their moves and added a few of her own. Her hard work paid off--she earned a place on the team. Later, McGee's teammates convinced her to try out for the National Skateboard Championship. She perfected her signature rolling handstand and wowed the crowd and the judges. The succinct, engaging text pairs well with the bold action shots of the barefoot blonde. One page features the brave girl falling, applying copious bandages to her arms and legs, and getting back on the board. Aspiring sports enthusiasts will glean many important messages here: Girls can and should compete with boys; perseverance and practice pay off; you don't need money or fancy equipment to master a sport; and it's important to have fun. Technical terms such as nose wheel, kick turn, and fakie are sprinkled throughout. An afterword, author's note, and source list provide more information. VERDICT An inspirational read-aloud for all collections.--Barbara Auerbach, Cairo P.L., NY

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Nienow aptly profiles Patti McGee, "the first professional female skateboarder in history," following her as she first spots a group of boys "riding a board with wheels," assembles a makeshift board of her own, joins a skateboarding team, and eventually earns a landmark win armed with her new trick--the rolling handstand--at the first National Skateboard Championship in 1964. Nienow makes effective use of anaphora ("When people sneered, Patti smiled. When they yelled "Get off the sidewalk," all she heard was the click of her board") and onomatopoeia ("ZOOM!"), while Medina features bold lines that dovetail with renditions of McGee practicing moves. An action-packed picture book biography that will engage casual skaters and non-boarders alike. Back matter includes an author's note and bibliography. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Tootie Nienow

Tootie Nienow has been a school librarian for ten years. Before that, she was a teacher, photographer, mother, social worker, and soldier. She loves sharing silly, scary, and suspenseful stories with her students. Although she has ridden a skateboard around her neighborhood, she has never once attempted a handstand. Tootie lives in Southern CA with her husband and dog.

Erika Medina is a Mexican illustrator living, teaching and drawing in Vancouver, BC. Besides nature, folklore and myths, her interests lie in spooky stories and curious characters who wander unfamiliar places. She specializes in picture books and other children's publications.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Publication date
February 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JNF025210 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/20th Century
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF007100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
JNF054210 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Skateboarding
Library of Congress categories
Women skateboarders
McGee, Patti
Texas Library Association's Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List Pick
2022 - 2022

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