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, November 24, 2015

Gift Ideas for Sporty Girls and Those Who Love Them

If you are one of the many shoppers out and about in the next weeks, here are some great gift ideas for the sporty reader in your life.

For sport book gift recommendations, please click on the book lists by age group in the tabs above or type "book" in the search bar. BOOKLIST online requires that you register for a 14 day free trial to read Core Collection: Sports Fiction for Girls. We also previously published this Let's Hear it for the Girls BOOKLIST link that was their response to an original sports books posting that listed fiction with only male protagonists. Support your local independent bookstore!

If you're looking for the one-of-a-kind, check out these handcrafted ideas from the Etsy website:

Picaboo Art Studio brings you this set of eight posters that make an incredible piece of sporty girl wall art. The set features ice hockey girl, soccer girl, golfer girl, and motivational panels, and can be customized.

There are so many options for sports and colors that I can't list them here. Visit Picaboo Art Studio.

EATcreations brings you "Lovingly hand stamped quality vintage cutlery, carefully sourced from around the globe...& a few other things too. Clean deep punch work impressions coming from years of stamp work experience." Here is the EATcreations Recycled Vintage Silver Spoon Bookmark. With the hand punched phrase: "Fell Asleep Here." This absolutely speaks to my reading habits.

From DesignsByAnnette comes a set of earrings that reminds your athlete about the importance of tenacity. Book Cover Earrings - The Little Engine Who Could - Typewriter Key jewelry

When I write, my hands and feet feel the cold first. These fingerless Little Women Writing Gloves from Storiarts include the lines, "I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good. To be admired, loved, and respected," also "Better to be happy old maids than unhappy wives." We also wish them equal opportunities in all facets of their life. 

KimGilbert3 has taken one of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare and made it into a custom fierce pendant. This one features a birthstone bead and name as well. 

Finally, if you are dealing with Stuffocation and don't want to bring any more THINGS into your home, please consider a donation on #GivingTuesday to one of the following organizations that work to promote girls in sports.

Sporty Girls, Inc (no connection to this blog) seeks to encourage minority girls age 8 - 18 to participate and achieve success in non-traditional sports. Sporty Girls will expose young women to golf, soccer, swimming, and tennis while building good character and lifestyle skills.

The Women's Sports Foundation is currently running a Travel & Training Fundraiser for female athletes who need your help. Since 1984, WSF has provided grants to more than 4,000 women including figure skater Michelle Kwan, the U.S. Women's Water Polo, Softball and Boxing Teams, gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Mallory Weggemann, many of whom have gone on to win national and world championships, Olympic and Paralympic medals, and provide inspiration to millions of girls and boys around the world. Current athletes (Dream Makers) are raising funds for future athletes (Dream Chasers).

More globally, Skateistan helps to empower girls and working youth in Afghanistan through skateboarding. Once the kids are hooked on skateboarding, the organization provides programming in education and leadership.

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ice Hockey: Low Score in the Nonfiction Net

A recent Team USA Sports Scene Weekly had a headline that caught my eye: “U.S. Women's Natl Team Wins Four Nations Cup: U.S. Comes From Behind to Defeat Canada 3-2 in OT.” The Four Nations Cup is a women’s ice hockey tournament held since 1996 and the U.S. has won the title six times.

I was curious about the number of books about girls playing ice hockey. Of course, the first one that came to mind was Sporty Girl Books contributor, Kristine Asselin’s YA romance ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT and GETTING IN THE GAME by Dawn FitzGerald, but when it comes to finding nonfiction titles it’s disappointing – most are pretty outdated.  A quick trip to my library and I found one book, GIRLS’ ICE HOCKEY: DOMINATING THE RINK by Tami Johnson published by Capstone Press. It’s a good introductory snapshot of the sport with information on rules, basic terminology, plus advice and a few profiles of players like Cammi Granato and Natalie Darwitz, but the publication date is 2008. Today, the sport has grown and new stars have emerged that warrant some new titles to be added to the shelves. Below are a few more nonfiction titles and some additional resources for teachers and parents.

Four additional nonfiction books
Breaking the Ice by Angela Ruggiero (2005)
Crashing the Net by Mary Turco (1999)
The Hockey Book for Girls by Stacy Wilson (2000)
H.E.A.R.T. by Cassie Campbell and Lorna Schultz Nicholson (2007)
Do you have a more recently published nonfiction title to add to this list? Please feel free to share the title in the comments section below.

Three activities for teachers (a hat trick!)
1. Invite a girl from a local high school, college, or professional ice-hockey team to visit your class. Ask them to bring their equipment bag so students can learn what they need to wear and why those bags are so heavy!
Tie in book:  Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook (Charlesbridge 2015).

2. Ice Hockey terms include: assist, body check, goalie, wings, and penalty.
Do other sports use these terms?

3.  Okay, so this might be a stretch. Two people share the same name: Hilary Knight.  One is a writer/illustrator and the other is a two-time Olympic Ice-Hockey silver medalist who also scored the winning goal in the Four Nations Cup mentioned at the beginning of this entry.
Research both people and list their similarities and differences.

Overtime Notes

Because I wondered how many states have girls' ice hockey programs, I found this on MaxPreps
Alaska (26)
Connecticut (46)
Illinois (1)
Maine (16)
Maryland (18)
Massachusetts (154)
Michigan (8)
Minnesota (167)
New Hampshire (19)
New Jersey (14)
New York (20)
Pennsylvania (7)
Rhode Island (10)
Vermont (16)
Wisconsin (25)

A source for information on women’s college hockey
U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) http://www.uscho.com/d1women/

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review of LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD by Tara Lazar

I was thrilled to see this cute new version of Little Red Riding Hood! Little Red on skates! Yes, please!

Thanks to Tara Lazar for taking the time to chat with me about her new picture book, and thanks to Random House for the review copy of the lovely LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD.

This adorable picture book is a wonderful edition to any child’s collection, but will particularly appeal to kids who LOVE fairy tale mash-ups and/or ice skating. YAY for Picture Books with Sporty Girls!

Little Red tells the tale of the classic red hooded heroine whose grandmother lives deep in the enchanted forest. But in this version, her ice skates are in bad need of repair. The only way to get a new pair is to win the local pairs championship, but Little Red doesn’t have a partner. What will she do??

Along Little Red's journey, author Tara Lazar (with help from Troy Cummings on illustrations) explores the competition. Everyone is surprised by the unexpected partner Red ends up finding. I love the twist on the classic story--and I love how Lazar has incorporated almost every fairy tale you could think of into her story. Cummings' pictures take the story to another level--kids will be able to tell their own stories about the secondary characters by reading between the lines of the illustrations.

I heartily give this adorable book FIVE stars. It’s something that kids will want to hear over and over—and parents won’t mind reading again and again. There’s something new to be seen in each retelling.

Isn't the cover adorable?

Tara took a few minutes to answer some questions:
KCA:  I love the theme of LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD, can you tell us about the inspiration?
TL: One day Corey Rosen Schwartz was sitting in my kitchen, trying to figure out what the follow-up to THE THREE NINJA PIGS should be. I said, "The wolf's in Little Red Riding Hood, how about Ninja Red Riding Hood?" And so off a-writin' she went...

A few weeks later she was back. "I've got a title and I can't do a thing with it! But it's perfect for you!" That title? LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD. As a former figure skater, I was immediately inspired. YES! And so off a-writin' I went...

So we gave each other ideas for each other's books. And now we'll be doing appearances with our two REDs.

KCA: Is there any funny/interesting anecdote you can share about the book's journey to publication?

TL: The journey to publication was a like a winding, frozen river. My editor immediately liked the concept, but thought the manuscript needed work. So I revised. Then she asked me to keep going, put in a little more wacky nursery rhyme and fairy tale stuff. So I revised again. By the time I finished that revision, she was on maternity leave. I had to wait about 6 months until she came back and had time to review the new version. Once she did, I finally got the offer.

Then, guess what? She had me revise it two more times!

And Grandma's final line...that took months for me to figure out. But when it finally hit me, I knew it was perfect.

Finally, five years after I first wrote it, Little Red Gliding Hood is skating into kid's hearts!

Thanks, Tara! I love your wonderful book—I’m sure it will be adored by kids for years to come.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ON THE FENCE by Kasie West

Kasie West writes super fun contemporary novels (in addition to her PIVOT POINT series), so when I found out she'd written an athletic MC for ON THE FENCE, I knew it would be a great one to have here on Sporty Girl Books.

From Goodreads: For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

My thoughts: Charlie can keep up with the boys, but she's clueless when it comes to dating them. With three massive brothers and a cop father, it takes someone who meets her out of her element (in makeup and "girl clothes") to ask her out on her first date. She thinks she needs to act like she isn't tough and doesn't know about sports when he takes her to watch the "A"s one of her favorite teams. It takes lots of "fence chats" and figuring out she can be a girl and tough, to follow her heart, be herself, and wear makeup when she wants to.  
I had tons of laugh out loud moments reading this book with all the pranks, the joking, and her cluelessness about girl stuff. She's a runner, upwards of 7 miles daily so she can sleep well, on top of her basketball, baseball, football, and soccer playing. This girl can do it all. 
I could easily picture her family and pull up a chair at her kitchen table. I also appreciated that there were morals of honestly, no cussing, and they had to wait to be 16 to start dating. Charlie was held responsible for her

I would definitely recommend this book. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A List of Sporty Girl Baseball Books for World Series Fans

To honor the opening game of the 2015 World Series, here are some sporty girl baseball books you will enjoy.

Picture Book

Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings by Deborah Hopkinson 

When Alta Weiss throws a corncob at a tomcat chasing her favorite hen, folks know one thing for sure: she may be a girl, but she's got some arm. At the age of six Alta can nail any target, and by seventeen she's out pitched every boy in town. Then one day her father takes Alta to Vermilion, Ohio -- home of the semipro baseball team called the Independents. "Where do I sign up?" she asks. But one look at Alta tells the coach all he needs to know: She's a girl, and girls can't play baseball. But faster than you can say, "strike out," Alta proves him wrong: Girls can play baseball!

Middle Grade

The Sweet Spot by Stacy Barnett Mozer
When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette’s baseball coach tells her that her attitude's holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. Why shouldn’t she have an attitude? As the only girl playing in the 13U league, she’s had to listen to boys and people in the stands screaming things like “Go play softball,” all season, just because she’s a girl. Her coach barely lets her play, even though she’s one of the best hitters on the team. 
All stakes now rest on Sam’s performance at baseball training camp. But the moment she arrives, miscommunication sets the week up for potential disaster. Placed at the bottom with the weaker players, she will have to work her way up to A league, not just to show Coach that she can be the best team player possible, but to prove to herself that she can hold a bat with the All-Star boys.

Young Adult
For an eighth grader, Molly Williams has more than her fair share of problems. Her father has just died in a car accident, and her mother has become a withdrawn, quiet version of herself. Molly doesn’t want to be seen as “Miss Difficulty Overcome”; she wants to make herself known to the kids at school for something other than her father’s death. So she decides to join the baseball team. The boys’ baseball team. Her father taught her how to throw a knuckleball, and Molly hopes it’s enough to impress her coaches as well as her new teammates.

Over the course of one baseball season, Molly must figure out how to redefine her relationships to things she loves, loved, and might love: her mother; her brilliant best friend, Celia; her father; her enigmatic and artistic teammate, Lonnie; and of course, baseball.

Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer by Mo'ne Davis

At the age of thirteen, Mo'ne Davis became the first female pitcher to win a game in the Little League World Series and the first Little Leaguer to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. A month later she earned a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

This inspiring memoir from a girl who learned to play baseball with the boys and rose to national stardom before beginning eighth grade will encourage young readers to reach for their dreams no matter the odds. Mo'ne's story is one of determination, hard work, and an incredible fastball.

Looking to the Future
The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop
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?

Told in a timeline that alternates between these two pivotal summers, Jenn Bishop’s heartwarming debut is a celebration of sisterhood and summertime, and of finding the courage to get back in the game.
Distance to Home is due to be released June 2016.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lady Warriors Design and Don More Modest Uniforms

Here at Sporty Girl Books we try to bring the newest info on books, sports and fashion... Wait. Fashion?

This story from NPR/WBUR's ONLY A GAME is about The Lady Warriors, a girl's basketball team in Minnesota, whose heritage as Somali and Muslim caused some uniform issues. As you can imagine, the modesty required by their religion made playing very difficult. Hijabs had to be refastened in the middle of the game and long sleeves and skirts were both hot and hard to play with.

Enter the Minnesota based Girls Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (GIRLS). GIRLS is an all-female, culturally appropriate physical activity program located in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The organization was founded by Fatimah Hussein as a way to provide culturally appropriate physical activity for Muslim/East African girls in the Cedar-Riverside community.

Hussein and Chelsey Thul, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota worked with The Tucker Center, and the players to design new uniforms from breathable, fun fabrics. The final design includes leggings and long sleeves as well as a tunic and velcroed break-away hijab for safety.  
Photo credit: JIM MONE/AP
A similar article from Newsweek.
Video from Star Tribune.

I was surprised and saddened by the comments after the ONLY A GAME article that focus on difference and distortion instead of unification and facts about Islam. I applaud the girls who helped design a solution to the problem they faced. I find that a lot of clothing manufactured for girls (in and out of the sports realm) are revealing and overly-mature. These are my opinions and not especially the opinions of my Sporty Girl Books co-contributors.

What do you think about current sports uniforms and modesty as it relates to feminism? 

I invite your civil comments below.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October 13: Happy Birthday to Author and Olympian Summer Sanders!

Today is the birthday of Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders (born October 13, 1972, in Roseville, California). Her swimming accomplishments include four Olympic medals (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) from the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. During her collegiate career at Stanford University, she also earned six individual NCAA titles and four relay championships, plus NCAA Swimmer of the Year honors.

Life has certainly changed for Summer Sanders, the famous butterfly and individual medley specialist, since her book CHAMPIONS ARE RAISED, NOT BORN: HOW MY PARENTS MADE ME A SUCCESS was published sixteen years ago. Today, she is a successful television reporter/host plus health advocate and married to another Olympian, skier Erik Schlopy, and a mother of two children. And today, sixteen years later, the message of her book is still relevant.

I re-read CHAMPIONS ARE RAISED, NOT BORN and I highly recommend it for athletes who will undoubtedly recognize themselves in Summer, plus coaches and parents sure to learn from Sanders’ no-nonsense parents who (despite being divorced) were able to cultivate positive experiences for their children in and out of the pool.

It’s refreshing to read about parents who understood life should not revolve around the sport, but rather the experiences that help a child to develop lifelong skills. Whether kids are in pee-wee sports or college-bound seniors, it’s common for parents to wonder when to push or pull back. How do you fuel motivation instead of snuff it out? From the early years to post-Olympic fanfare, Sanders traces her success to her parent’s sage guidance. In addition, she interviews Olympic friends that include Bonnie Blair (speedskating) and Dot Richardson (softball) who share similar parenting experiences.

The chapter “The Third Parent: What Makes a Coach Great” should be required reading for coaches of any sport.  As she aptly sums up, “If the relationship isn’t a positive one, nothing positive can ultimately come from it.” For athletes who reach a successful pinnacle and get stumped over, what’s next? The last two chapters explore handling success and finding triumph in what some may call defeat.

I originally bought this book because I’m a fan and my first sport was swimming. While re-reading it I recognized my own parent’s philosophy of prioritizing academics and balancing sports. I couldn’t help but smile. That’s probably why today, at age 53, I still enjoy swimming laps and cheerfully compete in a variety of sports. I always jot down notes or quotes (usually on a sticky pad) and there were plenty for this book, but I’ll share these six quotes on parenting a champion:
“Their joyful support freed me up emotionally to take risks, to not fear failure.”

 “Their insistence on personal accountability made me see myself, and myself alone, responsible for the course my swimming took – how high I reached or how hard I fell.”

“What the medals reflect back to me are the countless moments of pure joy along the way. Ultimately, the medals are really just metal.”

“She knew how to walk the line between being reassuring and being too involved.”

“Our parents were interested in sport as a character-forming experience, not as an index of self-worth.”

“It’s not the parents’ job to edit or censor what events come a child’s way; rather, it’s the parents’ job to teach, by example, how to handle whatever pitch life throws, especially the curveballs.”
For more information on this book and Summer Sanders:
Summer is also one of the hosts for: We Need to Talk: An All-Female Sports Show