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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Banned Books Week Pick: ATHLETIC SHORTS by Chris Crutcher


By Brenda Barrera

September 25 through October 1, 2016 marks Banned Books Week, a celebration of the freedom to read and an opportunity to create awareness about the issues of book censorship and the importance of our first amendment. Yep, it’s 2016, and it's hard to believe but there are still challenges to have books removed from libraries and schools. Here’s a statistic from the American Library Association: more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 when Banned Books Week was launched.

It still boggles my mind when I see the long list of award-winning titles from classics to contemporary bestsellers on lists of Banned Books. When I share these lists with my bibliophile friends they are typically aghast. I wondered if there were any sports-related titles and noticed on the “100 most frequently challenged books: 1990-1999” down at #63 was a young adult (YA) title: ATHLETIC SHORTS by Chris Crutcher.

Crutcher’s body of work is outstanding and typically involves male athletes and sports, but the themes are universal and relevant to sporty girls, too. I downloaded a copy of ATHLETIC SHORTS and re-read a story featuring a female athlete, “The Other Pin.” The main characters are from Crutcher’s book, THE CRAZY HORSE ELECTRIC GAME. In this short story, Petey Shropshrire is a high school wrestler who is goaded by a friend into agreeing to wrestle an opponent no one else wants to take on, Chris Byers. Why? We learn a few pages into the story that Chris is not a typical competitor. Chris is a girl. She developed an interest in wrestling because her older brothers were state champions. In fact, she learned takedowns before she was in kindergarten and by middle school was recruited to join the boy's team. Petey and Chris discover something else they  have in common: both have faced ridicule for being the one to wrestle a girl and a girl who  has faced ridicule for being a wrestler and not afraid to take on a boy. I'm not sure if I agree with the ending and their match, but it is an interesting story.

While “The Other Pin” may not be the story that provokes challenges in this six-story collection, here’s something to think about: if ATHLETIC SHORTS were to be removed from a library book shelf or recommended reading list, how many girls who are wrestlers or who are interested in wrestling and want to read about someone like themselves, would be deprived of this opportunity? Something to reflect upon during Banned Books Week, as when we celebrate free expression and the freedom to read.

Additional Information:
ALA Banned Books Week (www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek)


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Interesting Article and Book on Title IX

"Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played sports. Today that number is two in five. While we still have far to go before every girl has equal access to sports, especially girls of color, it is clear that we are making headway. This summer at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the world watched as woman after woman broke barriers, shattered records and won titles across a multitude of sports."

Now that the Olympics are over, it would be easy to forget all of the amazing female athletes featured over the summer. The quote above is from an article shared on the She Network on the role of Title IX and female athletes in America.

The article, called "Title IX and The Rise of Female Athletes in America,"  connects to a number of other articles about female athletes. In one from the LA Times, it states, “It’s not perfect,” swimmer DiRado said. “But the more girls can grow up and watch Olympics like this, knowing they’re just as good as the men’s teams, it’s goes a long way.’’

It continues, "Can it carry over to an increase in U.S. women’s sports popularity during non-Olympic years? So far, no good. The only stable women’s pro sports league is the WNBA, but that basketball league has benefited from the support of the powerful NBA."

So the fight for increased attention on women's sports continues, but things continue moving in the right direction.
For more about the role of Title IX, check out this book:



Thursday, September 1, 2016

Valuable Life Lessons per The Road Less Taken by Kathryn Bertine


By Brenda Barrera

Kathryn Bertine might not be a household name, but if you support girls + sports + books, she’s someone to know. Not only is Bertine a professional cyclist, but she has competed at a professional level in: ice-skating, triathlon, and rowing. In addition to being a versatile athlete, she’s also an activist – fighting for equality on and off the playing field. But wait . . . she’s also a documentary filmmaker capturing the “passion, pitfalls, and power of women’s professional cycling” in her documentary film, “Half the Road.” And, oh yeah, add author of two books, AS GOOD AS GOLD (2010) and THE ROAD LESS TAKEN: LESSONS FROM A LIFE SPENT CYCLING (2014).

I was fortunate to meet Bertine at a screening of her documentary, “Half the Road” at the College of William & Mary a few years ago and treasure my autographed copy of THE ROAD LESS TAKEN. Today marks the start of September and that means many teachers and students are trading their flip-flops for laced up shoes and heading to the classroom instead of the seashore. Here’s a gentle reminder: settling down with a good book doesn’t have to end with summer vacation.

THE ROAD LESS TAKEN is a thoughtful, provocative collection of essays and espnW features that are short, making for an easy read. Bertine shares lessons gleaned from her years as a professional cyclist, a tough existence with meager pay; where the stresses of finding a homestay and couch to sleep on in a foreign country are typical for female professional cyclists. Many chapters revolve around the sport of cycling and trying to qualify for a spot at the Olympic games, but several are about personal, everyday experience that young adult readers and older will enjoy.

A few of my favorite chapters include the humorous, “A Cyclists Letter to Santa,” and a thoughtful reflection on Lance Armstrong in, “The Guy in Yellow” where I found myself nodding in agreement. How is it possible to feel so much dislike and yet empathy for someone who is so polarizing? She shares her perspective as a cyclist, a female cyclist, a journalist, and a person and sums it up: he is a flawed human being. I agree.

You don’t have to squeeze into spandex bike shorts and maneuver cobblestones to appreciate the moving chapter, “The Bonus Wife,” which shares how she fell in love with her husband, newly widowed and the treatment by mutual friends that led her to study how society deals with grief. Many chapters explore aspects of inequality in sport, but an inspirational article on retired NBA player, Adonal Foyle, teaching ‘growl power’ to young girls – that is, take charge, be confident, and go after what you want. 

Bertine reveals her vulnerabilities alongside unwavering passion for sport, equality, and tackling life’s many hills. There’s plenty of ‘growl power’ in these pages to inspire readers to attack athletic challenges and move beyond everyday obstacles.

For more information:
Kathryn Bertine website: www.kathrynbertine.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Author Interview with the Great Wendelin Van Draanen

Wendelin Van Draanen came into my radar when I won her book FLIPPED from Liesl Shurtliff's book contract party. (You can check out Liesel's MG fairytale retellings here). But back to FLIPPED, it's a little book with a big, big heart. Years later, as I do little things like admire an old-growth tree or tend my chickens, I think of Bryce being afraid of Juli’s home-grown eggs. For the record, fresh eggs, with their wonderful dark yokes, cannot be beat;)

My fifth-grade daughter handed me THE RUNNING DREAM and informed me I had to read it, and now. It's part of North Carolina's Battle of the Books for the 2016-2017 school year, so tons of middle schoolers will be reading this incredible book, and that makes me all kinds of happy.


image002.jpg
An award-winning and inspiring novel.  When Jessica's dreams are shattered, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before. 

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her

When I contacted super famous Wendelin, I was amazed at her kindness, quick response, and willingness to be interviewed on Sporty Girl Books.

THE RUNNING DREAM was reviewed here back in March by Anna, (click here for her take). This book is deeper and more satisying than I expected.  It didn't only focus on main character Jessica and her struggles to run again, but it focused on seeing people, not their condition. Before the accident, Jessica lived in her world of athletes and carb loading, practices and meets. But once she's forced to slow down, she sees people she hadn't even noticed before. She makes friends with Rosa, a younger student with cerebral palsy, and their relationship is the sweetest part of the story for me.
This story felt realistic, from not knowing who she was anymore, to battling insurance, to clueless people trying to be helpful, and her struggle to trust anyone's true interest in her. I'd expected Jessica to run again, but I hadn't expected what she'd achieve by the end of the book. Her story of doing something so much harder for someone else and in the process making herself into a better runner fills me with happiness.

Let's welcome our author. Wendelin, thank you for being on Sporty Girl Books! From your website, "My stand-alone novels have each come from an idea that gripped me and wouldn't let go. In some cases, the idea shot straight through my heart. When it happens, it's like I have no choice but to face the characters and write their stories." Can you tell us about that experience with THE RUNNING DREAM? 

I ran the New York City marathon as part of the Exercise the Right to Read literacy/fitness campaign and was really touched by the incredible display of spirit and determination present at the finish line. People in all sorts of physical conditions and people with incredible physical challenges willed themselves to finish that 26.2 miles. Witnessing their willpower and determination was so inspiring. It took everything I had to get over the finish line myself, and that was under regular conditions. How could you go that distance as an amputee, or with muscular dystrophy; or blind

So the seed was planted there, and watered by my experience as a classroom teacher. A big goal among educators is inclusion, but it’s not always easy to get students to go from the theory of inclusion to the actions required to bring outsiders into their circle—or at least make them a real presence in the broader community. So the notion of a “regular girl” who hadn’t given much thought to the special needs kids on campus finding herself as part of the special needs community really resonated with me. She could become a powerful voice for inclusion—and convey what it feels like to sit at that table. 

What grew from that was a desire to model friendship—what would a real friend do to get someone through their dark days? When we’re young we don’t have much experience with this. What do you do when a friend goes through something awful, is depressed, or acts like she wants the world to leave her alone? It’s natural to feel out of your depths or awkward, or just lost. It’s natural to find more comfortable friendships away from all that. So the Fiona character shows us what a good friend does. At some point we will all need a Fiona in our lives—and at some point we’ll likely be called upon to be a Fiona for someone else. It’s helpful to get ideas on how to be that. 

I'm always impressed with marathon runners and the inner strength they have to have. I'm glad that experience planted a seed. What events did you run in high school? Did you have a favorite? Could you talk about your own experience with Rigor Mortis Bend?

I ran the 400, 200, and relays which included those distances. I guess the 400 was “my” race, even though it is a killer, and there is a Rigor Mortis Bend. Jessica runs the 400 because I know it intimately.

I'm not surprised one bit that the 400 was your event. As I watched Olympics track and field, I thought of Rigor Mortis Bend. I appreciated Jessica’s tough math teacher, Mrs. Rucker and wonder if she or Vanessa’s mom was the anonymous contributor. Did you have a teacher like Mrs. Rucker?

I will not give up the identity of the anonymous donor in print! After all, she wanted to be anonymous, right? And although I taught math, I didn’t have the tough exterior Ms. Rucker has. It’s interesting to draw from experiences from both having been a student and having been a teacher. When you’re a student you don’t realize your teachers have real lives and their own drama outside the classroom. They’re mostly just homework-generating machines. When you’re a teacher, you’re reminded daily of your own trials and tribulations growing up and there are things you wish you could convey to your students, but because you’re an adult your words will likely not sink in. And so, despite your best efforts, you watch them learning things the hard way. Flipped was mentioned in the introduction—it was very much a case of wanting to talk to my students. So is The Running Dream and Swear to Howdy. I’m careful not to let what I want to convey override the story, but it’s definitely there, nudging contemplation. 

Back in April you blogged Bust Through and Bloom, about the three year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing where you spotlighted two girls who lost limbs and have overcome, Heather Abbott, and Adriane Haslet-Davis. Heather Abbott wears stilettos and has a foundation to help other amputees have customized prosthesis and Adrianne completed the Boston Marathon this year. In the post you said "Adrianne and Heather show us that there's a choice you make in your heart when faced with the cruel things life may throw at you." Could you talk more on this point that resonates so much with me?

I personally know people who have experienced setbacks much smaller than Heather or Adrianne and have let those setbacks poison their lives. It really is true that it’s not what happens to us in life, it’s how we react to what happens to us. Most of us will face hard days in one form or another. Part of getting through them requires a vigilant fending-off of negative thoughts because, in the long run, it’s the negative thoughts -- resentment, bitterness, hatred and the like — that will destroy you. 

Well said. As someone who's been trying to become published for 6 years, it's a comfort reading that it took you 10 years to publish--and look at you now with 30 solid books and a multitude of awards. Can you tell us what kept you going during that time? It would seem that's a similar spirit and drive that Jessica needed to keep pushing.

To be honest, if I’d known it was going to take me 10 years of getting up at 5 AM to write for an hour before going to work, I might have decided to sleep in. But I didn’t know! And every day I told myself, Today could be the day! until, finally, it was.  I have an incredibly supportive and optimistic husband (Mark Parsons, who is also a writer), and that helped a lot. It was during this Time of Rejection that we developed the philosophy of keeping “Hope in the Mail” – we actively submitted our work and in doing so created a steady stream of rejection letters back to our mailbox. But by having work out there, we could face each day with the notion that Today could be the day! 

I love the concept of Hope in the Mail. I might take on Hope in the Email, myself. What was your favorite book growing up? 

I loved books with humor, adventure, and mystery. And I loved series books! Each new title was like spending time with a good friend. I read a lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys when I was growing up. The Sammy Keyes mysteries are influenced by that, as well as by seeing girls like Sammy as students in my classroom. Sammy is the girl I wish I’d had as a friend growing up. She’s in middle school, an outsider, funny, tough, and smart. She’s the character who got me out of bed at five in the morning to write. The series – 18 books and its overarching storyline – just wrapped up last year. New covers are coming in 2017 – something I’m super excited about. 

Wow, an 18 book series. That is an accomplishment. Do you have a favorite sporty read?

Since I’ve just talked about Sammy, what springs to mind are Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy – Sammy plays softball and there’s a lot of it in this title. Also Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things – a backpacking /camping adventure that is very active and funny, and also shines a light on the value of protecting Earth’s endangered species.  

Anything else you'd like to share with our Sporty Girl Community?

Keep working toward your dreams! Take it step by step, page by page, day by day…you’ll be amazed how far you go!


Thank you so much for taking the time to be on our blog!

My pleasure! 

I love that you and Robin McKinley both have whippets! 

I didn’t know that! Whippets are awesome J

Wendelin not only writes and runs, but she's also in a Rock-N-Roll band. Here's Wendelin with her band, Risky Whippet, playing at a Sammy Keyes Party.
SaveSaveSaveSave


Find the incredible Wendelin here: Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram *

Author Interview with the Great Wendelin Van Draanen

Wendelin Van Draanen came into my radar with I won her book FLIPPED from Liesl Shurtliff's book contract party. (You can check out Liesel's MG fairytale retellings here). But back to FLIPPED, it's a little book with a big, big heart. Years later, as I do little things like admire an old-growth tree or tend my chickens, I think of Bryce being afraid of Juli’s home-grown eggs. For the record, fresh eggs, with their wonderful dark yokes, cannot be beat;)

My fifth-grade daughter handed me THE RUNNING DREAM and informed me I had to read it, and now. It's part of North Carolina's Battle of the Books for the 2016-2017 school year, so tons of middle schoolers will be reading this incredible book, and that makes me all kinds of happy.


image002.jpg
An award-winning and inspiring novel.  When Jessica's dreams are shattered, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before. 

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her

When I contacted super famous Wendelin, I was amazed at her kindness, quick response, and willingness to be interviewed on Sporty Girl Books.

THE RUNNING DREAM was reviewed here back in March by Anna, (click here for her take). This book is deeper and more satisying than I expected.  It didn't only focus on main character Jessica and her struggles to run again, but it focused on seeing people, not their condition. Before the accident, Jessica lived in her world of athletes and carb loading, practices and meets. But once she's forced to slow down, she sees people she hadn't even noticed before. She makes friends with Rosa, a younger student with cerebral palsy, and their relationship is the sweetest part of the story for me.
This story felt realistic, from not knowing who she was anymore, to battling insurance, to clueless people trying to be helpful, and her struggle to trust anyone's true interest in her. I'd expected Jessica to run again, but I hadn't expected what she'd achieve by the end of the book. Her story of doing something so much harder for someone else and in the process making herself into a better runner fills me with happiness.

Let's welcome our author. Wendelin, thank you for being on Sporty Girl Books! From your website, "My stand-alone novels have each come from an idea that gripped me and wouldn't let go. In some cases, the idea shot straight through my heart. When it happens, it's like I have no choice but to face the characters and write their stories." Can you tell us about that experience with THE RUNNING DREAM? 

I ran the New York City marathon as part of the Exercise the Right to Read literacy/fitness campaign and was really touched by the incredible display of spirit and determination present at the finish line. People in all sorts of physical conditions and people with incredible physical challenges willed themselves to finish that 26.2 miles. Witnessing their willpower and determination was so inspiring. It took everything I had to get over the finish line myself, and that was under regular conditions. How could you go that distance as an amputee, or with muscular dystrophy; or blind

So the seed was planted there, and watered by my experience as a classroom teacher. A big goal among educators is inclusion, but it’s not always easy to get students to go from the theory of inclusion to the actions required to bring outsiders into their circle—or at least make them a real presence in the broader community. So the notion of a “regular girl” who hadn’t given much thought to the special needs kids on campus finding herself as part of the special needs community really resonated with me. She could become a powerful voice for inclusion—and convey what it feels like to sit at that table. 

What grew from that was a desire to model friendship—what would a real friend do to get someone through their dark days? When we’re young we don’t have much experience with this. What do you do when a friend goes through something awful, is depressed, or acts like she wants the world to leave her alone? It’s natural to feel out of your depths or awkward, or just lost. It’s natural to find more comfortable friendships away from all that. So the Fiona character shows us what a good friend does. At some point we will all need a Fiona in our lives—and at some point we’ll likely be called upon to be a Fiona for someone else. It’s helpful to get ideas on how to be that. 

I'm always impressed with marathon runners and the inner strength they have to have. I'm glad that experience planted a seed. What events did you run in high school? Did you have a favorite? Could you talk about your own experience with Rigor Mortis Bend?

I ran the 400, 200, and relays which included those distances. I guess the 400 was “my” race, even though it is a killer, and there is a Rigor Mortis Bend. Jessica runs the 400 because I know it intimately.

I'm not surprised one bit that the 400 was your event. As I watched Olympics track and field, I thought of Rigor Mortis Bend. I appreciated Jessica’s tough math teacher, Mrs. Rucker and wonder if she or Vanessa’s mom was the anonymous contributor. Did you have a teacher like Mrs. Rucker?

I will not give up the identity of the anonymous donor in print! After all, she wanted to be anonymous, right? And although I taught math, I didn’t have the tough exterior Ms. Rucker has. It’s interesting to draw from experiences from both having been a student and having been a teacher. When you’re a student you don’t realize your teachers have real lives and their own drama outside the classroom. They’re mostly just homework-generating machines. When you’re a teacher, you’re reminded daily of your own trials and tribulations growing up and there are things you wish you could convey to your students, but because you’re an adult your words will likely not sink in. And so, despite your best efforts, you watch them learning things the hard way. Flipped was mentioned in the introduction—it was very much a case of wanting to talk to my students. So is The Running Dream and Swear to Howdy. I’m careful not to let what I want to convey override the story, but it’s definitely there, nudging contemplation. 

Back in April you blogged Bust Through and Bloom, about the three year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing where you spotlighted two girls who lost limbs and have overcome, Heather Abbott, and Adriane Haslet-Davis. Heather Abbott wears stilettos and has a foundation to help other amputees have customized prosthesis and Adrianne completed the Boston Marathon this year. In the post you said "Adrianne and Heather show us that there's a choice you make in your heart when faced with the cruel things life may throw at you." Could you talk more on this point that resonates so much with me?

I personally know people who have experienced setbacks much smaller than Heather or Adrianne and have let those setbacks poison their lives. It really is true that it’s not what happens to us in life, it’s how we react to what happens to us. Most of us will face hard days in one form or another. Part of getting through them requires a vigilant fending-off of negative thoughts because, in the long run, it’s the negative thoughts -- resentment, bitterness, hatred and the like — that will destroy you. 

Well said. As someone who's been trying to become published for 6 years, it's a comfort reading that it took you 10 years to publish--and look at you now with 30 solid books and a multitude of awards. Can you tell us what kept you going during that time? It would seem that's a similar spirit and drive that Jessica needed to keep pushing.

To be honest, if I’d known it was going to take me 10 years of getting up at 5 AM to write for an hour before going to work, I might have decided to sleep in. But I didn’t know! And every day I told myself, Today could be the day! until, finally, it was.  I have an incredibly supportive and optimistic husband (Mark Parsons, who is also a writer), and that helped a lot. It was during this Time of Rejection that we developed the philosophy of keeping “Hope in the Mail” – we actively submitted our work and in doing so created a steady stream of rejection letters back to our mailbox. But by having work out there, we could face each day with the notion that Today could be the day! 

I love the concept of Hope in the Mail. I might take on Hope in the Email, myself. What was your favorite book growing up? 

I loved books with humor, adventure, and mystery. And I loved series books! Each new title was like spending time with a good friend. I read a lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys when I was growing up. The Sammy Keyes mysteries are influenced by that, as well as by seeing girls like Sammy as students in my classroom. Sammy is the girl I wish I’d had as a friend growing up. She’s in middle school, an outsider, funny, tough, and smart. She’s the character who got me out of bed at five in the morning to write. The series – 18 books and its overarching storyline – just wrapped up last year. New covers are coming in 2017 – something I’m super excited about. 

Wow, an 18 book series. That is an accomplishment. Do you have a favorite sporty read?

Since I’ve just talked about Sammy, what springs to mind are Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy – Sammy plays softball and there’s a lot of it in this title. Also Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things – a backpacking /camping adventure that is very active and funny, and also shines a light on the value of protecting Earth’s endangered species.  

Anything else you'd like to share with our Sporty Girl Community?

Keep working toward your dreams! Take it step by step, page by page, day by day…you’ll be amazed how far you go!


Thank you so much for taking the time to be on our blog!

My pleasure! 

I love that you and Robin McKinley both have whippets! 

I didn’t know that! Whippets are awesome J

Wendelin not only writes and runs, but she's also in a Rock-N-Roll band. Here's Wendelin with her band, Risky Whippet, playing at a Sammy Keyes Party.
SaveSaveSaveSave


Find the incredible Wendelin here: Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram *

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: The Jake Maddox Series

As the Olympics come to a close, it's hard to see them end. Fortunately there's a great series for middle graders that includes many Olympic sports. It's called the Jake Maddox series. As a teacher, I love that this series is written at a beginning third grade level, but the content can be enjoyed by an older middle grader. There is also more than one book per sport. As a sporty girl book blogger, I love that they have an equal focus on boys and girls.

The books take on issues of sportsmanship, bullying, hard work, and following dreams.

Here's the series description from the publisher's site:

Jake Maddox Books

There are 85 titles in this set.
These best-selling sports stories by Jake Maddox are a hit with boys and girls alike! Pumped-up, easy-to-read stories with an emphasis on speed, skill, and fair play. The boys and girls in these books face obstacles on the gridiron, the court, the ice, or the half-pipe, and meet mental and social challenges as well. Readers discover that an athlete's inner game, persistence, and courage are just as important as a steady hand or a chance for a goal.
A selection of titles that connect to the Summer Olympics:

Back on the Beam

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning
Because of an injury, Nadia couldn't practice her balance beam routines all summer. Her ankle is healed now, but she's nervous about being back in competition. It seems like every time she sees her rival, Blaire, her ankle starts to hurt again. Will Nadia find her balance, or will she let Blaire's mean comments keep her from winning?



Gymnastics Jitters

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Katie Wood
Dana and the rest of the Raiders gymnastics team must learn how to deal with their biggest rivals, the Superiors. When the Superiors don't play fair, the Raiders learn a valuable lesson in sportsmanship.



Jump Serve

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning
Ella and Laura can't believe it when two of the meanest girls from a rival volleyball team switch to their team. Before long, it's clear that the new girls don't plan to be good teammates. Is there any hope for a championship, or was the season ruined before it began?



Over the Net

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning
Allie loves everything about volleyball except hitting. She doesn't think she's good at it, and every time she messes up, her belief in her own abilities dwindles. Finally, she asks for help. Her idol, Nikki, agrees to coach her once a week. If Allie can learn to spike as well as she blocks, she could become one of the team's strongest players.



Soccer Surprise

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Katie Wood
Alex and her family just moved, which means she has to start a new school and adjust to a new soccer team. She soon learns that she must play a new position on the team, which makes her frustrated. Alex must learn how to adjust to her new life and have fun again.



Soccer Show-Off

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Katie Wood
Gina loves playing soccer, and she can't wait to join the team at her new school. But when Gina tries to be the star of the team, her new teammates don't exactly appreciate it. Gina has to learn that teamwork is more important than winning before she can get back on the field.

Tennis Trouble

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning

No description available.

Running Rivals

by Jake Maddox
Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning
No description available.