Welcome to SPORTY GIRL BOOKS. At SPORTY GIRL, we want to give all girls the chance to love, watch, play, read, and write about any sport that interests them. We look forward to the day when the words, "You play like a girl," is the biggest compliment anyone can receive.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: GAME CHANGER by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Last month while in the library I stumbled upon Margaret Peterson Haddix's middle grade novel GAME CHANGER. I'd enjoyed both her Shadow Children series and RUNNING OUT OF TIME, so I happily checked out a book with a softball player (my favorite!) for the main character. This book is a bit unusual for ones we typically review, because it has an alternate dimension or world and would be classified as science fiction.

From Goodreads:
Athletics are everything for eighth-grader KT Sutton. She’s a softball star, and she’s on track to get a college scholarship and achieve international fame. Then one day during a championship game—in the middle of an important play—she suddenly blacks out.

When she wakes up, she’s in a different world. One where school is class after class of athletic drills, and after-school sports are replaced by popular academic competitions. One where KT is despised for her talent, and where her parents are fixated on her brother’s future mathletics career rather than KT’s softball hopes.

KT is desperate to get back to reality as she knew it, but bits and pieces of disturbing memories and dreams make her wonder if something truly awful happened there. What if she’s lost something a lot more important than a softball game?

My take on GAME CHANGER:
The story was intriguing to read and put together how all the pieces came together. KT is an 8th grader already sneaking Ibuprofin to hide the pain and playing hard. She can pitch no-hitters and take on anyone who steps into the batter's box, but when she wakes up in a world where no one even knows what softball is and all the sports are academic (so she's in the sidelines watching her brother compete) it's a whole new world. People consider her a suck up for working out hard in class, running too fast or throwing too accurately. 

As she figures out which people are from her "real" world and works with them to "get back home" she learns many important lessons about what really matters. She's a different person, a different sister, and when she's back, she has a whole new set of issues to overcome (too spoilery to go into details!). I appreciated the read, but felt it a bit too didactic at times (especially the epilogue). Haddix definitely had a message she wanted to teach her readers, but at least it came with a pretty good story. 

This one is worth the read for upper elementary through middle school readers. 

About the Author:
Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio. She graduated from
Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. 
She has since written more than 30 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of TimeDon’t You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey; Leaving Fishers; Turnabout; Takeoffs and Landings; The Girl with 500 Middle Names; Because of Anya; Escape from Memory; Say What?; The House on the Gulf; Double Identity; Dexter the Tough; Uprising; Claim to Fame; The Always War; Game Changer; Full Ride; the Shadow Children series; the Missing series and The Palace Chronicles. She also wrote Into the Gauntlet, the tenth book in the 39 Clues series.  Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status, the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award; American Library Association Best Book and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers notations; and numerous state reader’s choice awards. They have also been translated into more than twenty different languages.

Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio, and they are the parents of two college-aged kids.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sporty Girl Books for Football Fans

Superbowl Sunday is coming up this weekend. In 2014, we had a post that shared books a girl who likes football might enjoy. You can find that post here. I intended to post today about all the new books that have come out since then about girls who play football -- but I only found one and it came out in 2010. Publishing companies, it's time for some more!

Cinderella in Cleats by Carly Syms
 It started just like any other Saturday: Whitney, her best friend, Jason, and their fathers tossed an old football around in the park. But when her dad dies of a heart attack, Whitney doesn't realize her passion for the sport and her friendship with Jason will never be the same. 

Two years later, Whitney's ready to begin the long journey of re-discovering her love for football, encountering a sexist coach, an unethical but irresistible opponent, a mustard yellow T-shirt, and Jason along the way.

How many boys, romance, and hits on the field can Whitney handle before it becomes too much and she's forced to throw in the towel on her dreams?

Is there a football book we've missed? Please help us out and tell us in the comments below.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 2016 Round Up

One month down for 2016 and one month closer to the summer olympics. Media coverage of women in sports tend to increase in Olympic years. Let's look at some of the stories that were in the news this month.

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association and Lidl, a European grocery-store chain that has become the league’s official title sponsor, put out a fake product #Ladyball to highlight the ridiculous attitudes towards women in sport. "Soft touch, Eazi-play, Fashion driven."

When the Twitter outrage reached a fevered pitch, people were informed of the hoax. On their website, LGFA president said, "Through the “Ladyball” initiative Lidl has demonstrated their innovative and dedicated approach to supporting our sport. We hope to see everyone who spoke so passionately in women’s defence in this debate, channel that same energy into pitchside support during the coming season." Will they be able to turn hashtags into attendance? I hope so. There's a great article about this from the Washington Post with image captures of tweets, print ads, and video. Take a look!

From NPR came this great piece about the National Women's Hockey League who are in the midst of their first season. Some of the highlights include discussion about low pay, and flexibility in scheduling so that the women can all have other jobs. Says Dani Rylan, Founder and Commissioner, "You don't want to compare a league in its infancy to a league that is about to have its centennial." Sigh. The lack of pay equity doesn't seem to be keeping the players from amazing hockey though...

Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills football team promoted Kathryn Smith to the position of quality control-special teams. She will be the NFL's first full-time female assistant coach. Smith acknowledged that her job as quality control-special teams coach is an "amazing opportunity" on a personal level. Originally, the Bills didn't even make a big announcement thinking it was just a run-of-the-mill promotion.  Smith has years of experience both with the Bills and the Jets, but that didn't stop talk radio and Twitter degrading and demeaning her accomplishments. Maybe start listening to Spain, Jane, and Kate on ESPN's radio show The Trifecta. Here's the most recent show that includes a piece about Kathryn Smith's hiring.  

Finally, the African Women In Sports Forum opened in Algiers earlier this month. According to the website AllAfrica.com, "On the forum's first day, the participants will focus on the global effort for women's development, sports and Olympic movement, sustainable financing for the development of women and sport in the 21st century as well as the sustainable supervision of African women (role of sports federations)."

Don't forget Girls & Women in Sports Day coming up on February 3rd! Check here for events near you. In my town of Brunswick, ME I found this event:
"Bowdoin College will host its annual Girls & Women in Sports Day Event on Sunday, February 7 at Farley Field House.

The free-of-charge event is designed to introduce young women to a wide range of sports. Participants will rotate through sport stations at timed intervals. Sports scheduled for this year are: Basketball, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball.

The program will run in two age groups: K-3rd grade (11am-1pm) and 4th-HS (1:30pm-3:45pm). After each clinic, the participants are invited to have pizza and snacks with Bowdoin student-athletes."

Have a great February!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Leading the Way with Books that Let Readers Know, “That could be me!”

I was watching an espnW video on Impact25 that highlights 25 women who led the way and had the greatest impact on women’s sports this past year. I clicked the pause button when it showed little girls straining over the barricades at the U.S. Women’s World Cup champions ticker tape parade to catch a glimpse of their heroes. The newscaster observed they no doubt thought to themselves, “That could be me…that will be me!”

It was another reminder of how important for girls of all abilities and diversity to see themselves in all media formats that show sports like movies, news outlets and, yes, books. Which leads to an important date coming up: February 3. This year marks the 30th anniversary of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), a national observance celebrating the achievements of women and girls in sports. Across the nation, communities and organizations will be hosting events to highlight their female athletes.

This year’s NGWSD theme is Leading the Way. I thought how could we help our blog readers get involved? Many of you are not only fans of sporty girl books but are already leading the way as authors, coaches, educators, and parents who support and encourage girls and women in sports. My hope is to increase awareness of this annual celebration.

Get started at the official website: NGWSD.ORG
* Click on Resources to find a link to their free Event Action Kit with activity ideas like the Book Club (below), a sample media alert and press release (note: helpful sample formats!), poster and logos, plus information on Title IX.
* Click on Events and see if there are any events in your region. Many of those listed are sports clinics and several are basketball-related. If you are an author of a book for sporty girls, email the contact person and offer to read a chapter or provide a copy as a raffle prize. Another idea, do a write-up for your local newspaper and be sure to include a high-resolution image of your book and your website in your byline. If you have a social media platform, share the celebration and promote the event with the hashtag #NGWSD.

Several of the NGWSD events are clinics with collegiate women athletes sharing their time and talent with younger girls, something I always like to see since it binds the local community and has a positive impact. These two events listed below in Minnesota and New York immediately stood out because they involve books and writing.

Minnesota - Free activities for children in grades K-6 includes a mini basketball camp and a book reading by author Shelly Boyum-Breen (Shelly Bean the Sports Queen series) is scheduled for Saturday, February 6 at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN.
For more information: www.csbblazers.com

New York - Calling all young writers! The Department of Sport Studies at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY is sponsoring their 7th annual NGWSD Essay Contest for children in these divisions: K-2; Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, and Team. The contest format includes a suggested theme and word count.

Were you aware of National Girls and Women in Sports Day? Are you participating in an activity to promote and celebrate NGWSD? Share in the comments section below!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sporty Girl Newbery Honor Book

At the American Library Association Convention yesterday morning not only did we have a Newbery Medal awarded to the first picture book ever, but a sporty girl book won the Newbery Honor.

ROLLER GIRL, by Victoria Jamieson, a graphic novel recently reviewed on our site, is a Newbery Honor book!! Not that we should be all that surprised. Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Horn Book all gave ROLLER GIRL starred reviews. We're thrilled this year's Newbery Committee appreciated this wonderful book as well.

Anna Jordan's review, complete with an impressive sketch note, can be found here.

(To see all the awards given at ALA yesterday, click here) I for one, have a many more books I'm excited to explore.
My other favorite reads of 2015 to be awarded: BONE GAP (Printz award), FINDING WINNIE (Caldecott winner), and THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE (Newbery Honor)

Congratulations to all the winners!!

I'm off to the library for more award winners to add to my TBR pile and hopefully my favorite reads pile, as well.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sporty Girl Books Coming in 2016

There are some awesome Sporty Girl Books coming out in 2016. We can’t wait for these! If you know of any more, please add them in the comments! To make them easy for you to add to your TBR list, here is a link to all of these books on Goodreads Listopia.

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still by Karlin Grey
June 2016
Nadia Comaneci was a feisty and fearless little girl who went from climbing trees in the forests of Romania to swinging into history at the 1976 Olympic Games, where she received an unprecedented seven perfect scores in gymnastics. But as readers will see in this first-ever illustrated picture book about Nadia’s journey to Olympic gold, the road from small-town girl to world-class athlete was full of many imperfect moments.      Expert illustrations that capture the energy and fluidity of Nadia's exuberant gymnastic routines and referential back matter round out this inspirational story of determination and overcoming adversity. A perfect 10.

The Kid From Diamond Street by Audrey Vernick
March 2016
Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno have again collaborated to bring us a captivating picture book about a compelling but little-known piece of baseball history. Beginning in 1922, when Edith Houghton was only ten years old, she tried out for a women’s professional baseball team, the Philadelphia Bobbies. Though she was the smallest on the field, soon reporters were talking about “The Kid” and her incredible skill, and crowds were packing the stands to see her play. Her story reminds us that baseball has never been about just men and boys. Baseball is also about talented girls willing to work hard to play any way they can. 

Pool Panic by Jake Maddox
March 2016
Jenny has always loved swimming, so this year she’s finally decided to join the swim team. Jenny cruises through the pool during practice, but when she sees the crowd of spectators at her first meet, she freezes up. Can Jenny overcome her fears and help lead her team to victory? This fast-paced sports story eBook is a winning read for any young athlete!

Volleyball Victory by Jake Maddox
March 2016
Andrea is excited for another winning volleyball season. But there’s a problem—the new coach is bringing the team back to basics, and now Andrea is unhappy and feeling frustrated in her new position. Will the coach’s strategy pay off, and will the Pumas ever be ready for competition? This fast-paced sports story eBook is a winning read for any young athlete!

The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop
June 2016
Last summer, Quinnen was the star pitcher of her baseball team, the Panthers. They’re headed for the championship, and her loudest supporter at every game was her best friend and older sister, Haley.

This summer, everything is different. Haley’s death, at the end of last summer, has left Quinnen and her parents reeling. Without Haley in the stands, Quinnen doesn’t want to play baseball. It seems like nothing can fill the Haley-sized hole in her world. The one glimmer of happiness comes from the Bandits, the local minor-league baseball team. For the first time, Quinnen and her family are hosting one of the players for the season. Without Haley, Quinnen’s not sure it will be any fun, but soon she befriends a few players. With their help, can she make peace with the past and return to the pitcher’s mound?

Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema
June 2016
Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Tumbling by Caela Carter
June 2016
Work harder than anyone.
Be the most talented.
Sacrifice everything.
And if you’re lucky, maybe you will go to the Olympics.

By the end of the two days of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, some of girls will be stars. Some will be going home with nothing. And all will have their lives changed forever.

Never Evers by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
January 2016
Kicked out of ballet academy and straight into a school ski trip, Mouse knows certain classmates can't wait to see her fall flat on her face. Meanwhile, Jack looks forward to danger and girls, but hasn't a clue about either. That's until French teen sensation Roland arrives in the resort - who Jack's a dead ringer for. When Roland persuades Jack to be his stand-in for a day, Jack, in disguise, declares his feelings for Mouse. But what happens when he's no longer a pop star - will it be music and magic on the slopes?

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
May 2016
Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places. Once again, Christine Heppermann writes with an unflinching honesty and a deep sensitivity about the complexities of being a teenager, being a woman. Her free-verse poems are moving, provocative, and often full of wry humor and a sharp wit. Like Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, Christine Heppermann is a voice to turn to for the truth of difficult subjects. Ask Me How I Got Here is a literary exploration of sexuality, religion, and self-discovery.

Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher
June 2016
When Savannah Gregory blows out her knee –and her shot at a gymnastics scholarship – she decides she’s done with the sport forever. Without gymnastics, she has more time for her best friend, Cassie. She’s content to let her fun, impulsive best friend plan a memorable senior year.

That is, until Cassie tries to kill herself.

Kicking Off  by Sarah Sheppard
June 2016
There's a battle being fought. It's raging on the sports fields, in the newsrooms, and behind the scenes at all the major broadcasters. It's a battle that dates back further than any of us can remember, and yet it has lost none of its momentum--in fact, it's being fought with more vigor now than ever before.

The warriors are women in sports, and in this book their battles will be broken down to discover if and how they can ever be won. It will ask the questions that can no longer be ignored and tell the stories that can no longer be overlooked. It will be a vital tool in helping women switch their focus from the battlefield to the sports field, once and for all.

Descriptions are from Goodreads.  If you have more information about a title, please let me know and I’ll update the post. We are also happy to add additional books to the list. If you have a new sporty girl book coming out in 2016 make sure to email us or leave the information about your books in the comments on this post. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sporty Girl Book Review: Roller Girl (In words and pictures.)

Today on Sporty Girl Books a review that's a little different. This review is in words and pictures just like the graphic novel it describes...ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson. I loved this book and recommend it highly for readers ages 8 and up.

Shop at independent bookstores!

Click on the image to zoom in on the review(, my worn countertops, and ugly kitchen floor).

To see her wonderful drafted spreads don't miss Victoria Jamieson's website.