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, 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 Her father has just died in a car accident, and her mother has become a withdrawn, quiet version of herself.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