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, December 24, 2013

5 Winter Wishes for our Awesome Readers +2 more

This holiday season at Sporty Girl Book blog, we are so thankful for our wonder readers who have embraced our new blog. Since we began in July, we have had over 10,000 page views from the US, Poland, Canada, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, China, Panama, Australia and Spain. Stacy, Kris, Robin, our contributing bloggers and I wish you good cheer. Here are five (+ one) other very special sporty wishes for all of our Sporty Girl Book Blog (SPG) readers…

1. League approved helmet. Check. Eye protection. Check. Pads. Check. Cool, colorful, new uniforms or training gear. Check. Whether it’s for safety or team spirit, SGB wishes you all the gear you need to be the best athlete ever.

2. Coaches are the people who take us to the next level. They notice what we need to improve, teach us how to get better, and challenge us to meet or exceed those expectations. Good coaches keep us safe, and encourage collaboration. SGB wishes you coaches who make you feel great about who you are and who help you see that you can be even better.

3. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have your sports season. Stay healthy by eating right, getting lots of sleep and knowing your own edge. It’s hard to say no to those great coaches and parents who want to push you to succeed, but you do need to communicate. If something hurts, tell someone even if it means taking a break on the sidelines to get medical attention before you get back into the game. SGB wishes you a healthy and injury free sports season.

4. When everyone on a team is working together sports are fun and rewarding. Even if you don’t play on a “team sport,” there are still people who help you be the best you can be: The girl in your barn who helped you muck out a stall when you were late; the boy who handed you a towel; the mom who drove your carpool. SGB wishes you a rockin’ team to help you succeed.

5. There comes a time in every sporty girl’s season when she needs help with school work, wants a hug, or just needs to vent. SGB wishes that you’ll always have a BFF who gets and supports you–– someone who knows your inside jokes and shares your secret handshake.

+1. You didn’t think that you’d get through this list of Sporty Girl Book blog wishes without books did you? Books, books, books! SGB wishes you awesome, keep-you-engaged, connect-with-you, challenge-you, surprise-you, sporty-girl books, AND the time to read them, AND the amazing librarians and booksellers to connect you with those books.

+2. Finally, SGB wishes that whether you are a sporty girl, a parent, a coach, or a writer you’ll keep coming back to Sporty Girl Books Blog to find great book suggestions, read up on fellow sporty girls, and see what’s new with your favorite sports. Keep spreading the word about Sporty Girl Books Blog again and again. Happy Holidays and Peace in the New Year!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fulfilling the Need for Role Models

I didn't grow up a sporty girl. I never played baseball or basketball or soccer, not on an organized team.

Yet this past season I coached my daughter's soccer team.

Why would a women who has no experience playing sports sign up for such a thing? 

Because someone had to. Until this season, every coach in the Girl's Division has been male. When I told my own two children that I wanted to coach they both said in unison, "You can't coach, Mommy. You're a girl." Not, you can't because you've never played soccer or because you've never coached before, but "You can't coach because you're a girl." 

If our girls and boys don't see women coaching, how can they know it's a possibility? 

I'm very excited next month to interview Justine Siegal, the only women who has pitched in batting practice to major league players and the who has coached a professional male baseball team. She is a true inspiration. 

My coaching inspiration and advisor was Pam Vaughan, the Varsity Soccer Coach at Nashoba Regional High School. She is also a fellow writer. 

But each one of us, no matter what our experience, has the power to be inspiring. Even if it is by doing something as small as coaching our own child's team.

Be a role model. Our girls need them.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interview with Sporty Girl Kira Garry

Our guest blogger today is Alice Kaltman. I'd like to thank Alice for this great interview with sporty girl Kira Garry.


20 year old Kira Garry is one of those girls you just wanna hug. She’s kind, she’s funny, she’s smart, she’s talented, and she can run like nobody’s business. She’s now one of the top steeplechase runners of her generation, and a pre-med student at Yale University. 

Kira qualified to compete in the NCAA Regional in the 3,000-meter steeplechase freshman and sophomore year at Yale, was All-East in the 3,000 meter run indoors in 2012, All-Ivy in the steeplechase in 2012 (5th place), and All-East in the steeplechase 2013 (5th place).

Kira set the Yale record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:22.81) at the New Balance Boston Twilight Meet this October 2013, earning a spot in the U.S. Junior National Championships, where she placed fifth.

Back in high school, she was two-time All-American in the steeplechase (2009-2010), All-American in the 5,000m, All-State and All-Federation in Cross Country (2009-2010), All-State in the steeplechase (2009-2011), Third at States in Cross Country and steeple in 2009. She was a two-time NY state sportsmanship winner and a News 12 Scholar High School Athlete.

Pretty cool, eh?

I’ve known Kira since she was four years old. When she wasn’t running, she had her nose in a book. Kira was(and still is) a voracious reader, consuming books with amazing passion and concentration. I recently talked with Kira to talk about the parallels between running and reading, and how her love of books have helped her become such an awesome scholar-athlete. Here’s what she has to share:

AK: Has reading always played a big part in your life? How did your interest in reading start? Who encouraged it?

KG: Yes, reading has always played a huge role in my life. I started reading pretty early and one of my distinct memories was when my dad read me the first Harry Potter before I went to bed and then he started to fall asleep reading to me so I just took the book and said okay, I’m just reading this by myself now! I remember reading “Go Dog, Go!” to my kindergarten class and loving reading aloud. I think I really became a reading fiend in the second grade when I read the Boxcar children, Magic Treehouse, Junie B. Jones, and other young series. My mom definitely encouraged my interest in reading and one of our favorite things to do with my sister was to go to Barnes and Noble and look for books, often sitting and just hanging out there. I was especially obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Harry Potter, lots of fantasy books and some sports novels growing up.

AK: Can you say anything about the importance of reading for younger girls who are super athletic like you were?

KG: I find reading to be one of the most rewarding activities. I think it complements the active things I do in my life and is a great way to just relax, but also to become inspired by the athletes or role models I read about. Especially as someone who is competitive, loves to push myself and do lots of athletic things, I think reading is a way to keep things in perspective. I believe reading anything is worthwhile; whether it’s a fantasy novel, non-fiction, the newspaper, or a journal, just the act of reading is something that you can feel good about, learning something new.

AK: Were there any books about athletes or sports you read, when younger, that inspired you?

KG: Yes, definitely! One book I remember particularly well was about a runner named Wilma Rudolph, later called “The Tornado, the fastest woman in the world”. She contracted infantile paralysis caused by the polio virus at age four, and though she recovered she wore a brace on her left leg until she was nine. I was so inspired by Wilma’s story and overcoming her illness to end up winning three gold medals in track and field during the 1960 Olympics, the most medals any American woman had won at that point. I read that book over and over again because I loved her story and her dreams to be an athlete despite adversity. I also read books about Mia Hamm and loads of fantasy books with strong female characters.

AK: Did you wish there were more books about female athletes?

KG: Definitely! There are nowhere near enough! I have to say that most of the inspiring running books I have read have been about men.

AK: Were there any other books, sporty or not, that were your favorites growing up?

KG: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine , The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, The Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Baseball in April by Gary Soto. I also really liked the Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. 

AK: Do you think there are any parallels between the concentration needed to really dive in to a book and the focus needed to be a competitive long distance runner?

KG: Yes, I think that both reading and running require the ability to shut off the world in a way and become completely absorbed and present in the moment. By focusing on the next page, or the next segment of the run, you end up enjoying the process as opposed to the end result or just the last page of the book. It is a great feeling to become completely absorbed in something as if the world is paused for that time.

AK: Growing up, did any of your more sporty, less booky friends ever make you feel bad for also being a Bookworm?

KG: I don’t think so—at least not in high school, but in middle school I was always reading and I guess sometimes people poked fun that on the bus to the soccer game, or whenever I could I just always had a book out. However, I think that changes when people get older and more mature. I guess for the girls whose sporty friends do make fun of them…read on! I think some people equate sportiness as the opposite of nerdiness or even reading, but these are two things that go extremely well together J

AK: You go to Yale, which is probably the coolest University on the planet, but where you are expected to work super hard. You’re on the track team. You’re pre-med. How do you find the time to read now? Is there any time? Where do you read? On the bus to meets? In between practices? Never?

KG: I try to find time read, but it is definitely difficult. I read most frequently on the bus to meets and at my meets as a way to distract myself from the competition especially if it is a big meet. It’s also a nice break from my studies. I find myself more interested in non-fiction books these days. I recently read “Letters to a Young Scientist” by Edward O. Wilson and “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder. I like reading right before bed at school, even if it is just a couple pages. I love being able to read a ton over December break because I don’t have any classes to worry about. And I read tons over the summer.

AK: Do you have any advice for younger Sporty Girls who love to read, but find it hard to carve out the time?

KG: Sure, I would say that most of the time, even if you think there isn’t enough time in the day to fit in some reading, there usually is. Limit the amount of TV or computer time and instead keep a book or two (in case you want options) next to your bed and then read 15-30 minutes each night. It’s a nice way to wind down after an active day, before you go to sleep. I would also say that often if you have schoolwork and need a break, reading is a nice way to refocus your brain especially because you can just sit on a couch, have a snack, and get wrapped up in a book. I think it’s hard when sometimes a tv show or movie can seem much more interesting, but reading a good book is a great feeling. Maybe even read the same book as some of your friends! On runs with my team, if we have all read the same book it makes for a fun conversation because everyone has something to offer and a different opinion. Those kinds of conversations are what make reading fun.

More about Interviewer Alice Kaltman: 

Alice Kaltman is a surfer, swimmer, and dancer. She’s also a former triathlete and personal trainer, but hey, there’s only so much time in a day. On the odd occasion when she can sit still, Alice writes YA and MG fiction about mermaids, surfers and the occasional troll. For more about Alice, check out her website: alicekaltman.com, follow her on Twitter @AliceKaltman, and catch her random musings on Tumblr alicekaltman.tumblr.com  


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review: RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kinneally

Out Today!!
***I was given my copy RACING SAVANNAH by Netgalley for an honest review***

"You are really pretty..." He drags a hand through his blond hair. "But you're kind of like a great book...you know, you pick up a book at a bookstore because it has a beautiful cover...but it's what's inside that pulls you in."

That, my dear readers is my favorite line-isn't it beyond perfect? Sigh. It's one of those lines I would want a guy to say to me (maybe I'll have my husband memorize it for me (; )

I'm a HUGE fan of companion books because you can read them in any order and see bits of your favorite characters sprinkled in each book. Is you've read CATCHING JORDAN (my fav. of Miranda's), STEALING PARKER, or THINGS I CAN'T FORGET, you'll see old friends in this fourth installment of her Hundred Oaks Series, but like all great companion novels, you can read this one as a stand alone. 

Savannah Barrow is dirt poor, lost her mother, her Dad has a pregnant girlfriend and they're moving again so her dad can have better work (hopefully) at Cedar Hill Farms. The biggest surprise for this year is that the owner's son, Jack Godwin, is running the farm for the year. He has power, a great smile, and strict instructions to stay away from the staff and their quarters. (Think Downton Abby or Upstairs Downstairs.) 

But Savannah knows how to get his should-be-prize horse back on track, and more than that, she has him struggling with his promise to keep separate from "the help." Like all of Miranda's MC's, Savannah is tough stuff, totally bad a**, and not afraid to work and compete with the boys. 

Rory was my favorite secondary character. I wanted to eat at Tennessee Ballers, dance under the white tent, and visit my favorite horse as twilight settles on the farm and the stars come out.

This was a fun read. I wished for a little bit more racing and to cut one edgy scene, but otherwise it was a fun read, reminding us that girls can train hard and achieve anything they set their hearts on.

Have you read Miranda Kinneally's previous Sporty Girl Reads? Are you into horses and racing? If so, this book is definitely for you. What's your favorite recent sporty girl read?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Athlete Spotlight with Star Lacrosse Player Erin Kenedy

Erin Kenedy, of Cary, NC, started playing lacrosse in sixth grade. She's been playing competitively ever since and currently plays for the competitive club team, Carolina Fever, as  a defender/middie. She was nice enough to do this interview over texting during her Showcase Florida Tournament. Erin is planning to play in college and has the impressive record to get her there.

Thanks for being on the blog, Erin. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I'm 16 year old, I love to hang out with friends and shop. My favorite class subject is math and I enjoy food (haha).

How did you get into lacrosse?

I started playing in 6th grade because my older sisters played and wanted me to get into the sport. Although I didn't get serious in the sport until the beginning of high school.

I know you run cross country and that your mom is a serious runner and qualified for the Boston Marathon. Could you see yourself doing that?

No. I only do cross-country to stay in shape. (haha) I don't see myself running a marathon for multiple reasons including the fact that I don't enjoy running long distances that much.

What are you favorite practices and why?

I like our practices generally when we scrimmage. I feel like it brings out a great competitive side out of everyone and you feel like it's game time. Depending on the team I'm on, I'm generally a leader although when I am on higher teams I sometimes follow.

What is your favorite book? And do you read sporty girl books?

My favorite book is the Hunger Games Series. I haven't seen Catching Fire yet, but I'm dying to.
I don't really read sporty books, as I tend to read action books. The last book I read was The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

I haven't read that yet, but have heard great things about it. Good luck this season and thanks again for being a part of Sporty Girl Books!

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Black girls can be ballerinas:" The inspiring Misty Copeland & Debbie Allen's Dancing in the Wings

If you haven’t heard of ballerina Misty Copeland, you haven’t been paying attention. Ms. Copeland has been featured on ABC and NBC news programs, in niche magazines Dance and Pointe, Essence and Ebony, has toured with the artist Prince, and was recently award the Young, Gifted, and Black Award during the Black Girls Rock Award show.

Misty Copeland (Photos copyright 2011 Ballet Theatre Foundation)
from http://africlassical.blogspot.com/

Please click here to see her inspiring, eloquent, and elegant acceptance speech. That’s okay… I’ll wait for you. She’s really amazing.

As she mentions in the speech, Ms. Copeland was one of six children. Her single mom worked full time. She was discovered at age 13 on the basketball court of the Boys and Girls Club and began taking free dance lessons. If you’ve seen tiny girls in tutus, you probably know that 13 is considered a “late start” for someone interested in classical ballet training. That didn’t deter Ms. Copeland.

When she won the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award, it led to a position in the San Francisco Ballet’s summer intensive program. Next came the summer intensive at American Ballet Theater and then a place in the ABT’s corps de ballet. Promotions followed and in 2007, Ms. Copeland became the first African-American female in twenty years to solo for the American Ballet Theater. Most recently, Ms. Copeland was featured as the Firebird in Igor Stravinsky’s, The Firebird. She aspires to solo in classical ballets.

From JoelMindon.com

In a variety of interviews she talks about how she doesn’t fit the typical image that many people have of ballerinas. She says that it is difficult to be a person who stands out in an art form where you want to blend in and be part of a group (the corps). “[I’m] a curvy woman in this field. Being black and having started late.” One of the difficult pieces of the puzzle for Ms. Copeland was the lack of African-American mentors in the ballet world. “I went through times when I felt like didn’t belong. Not really because I was being told I didn’t. But I just didn’t feel like I looked like anyone around me.” (NBC interview)

Even though Ms. Copeland couldn’t find the people who looked like her in classical ballet or even in books, she did find mentors to help her along the way. She cites strong black women in general and specifically Raven Wilkinson who fought discrimination in the 1950’s to dance for Ballet Russe as one of the first black ballerinas.

Now, Ms. Copeland is a mentor to many other young ballerinas of color to whom she says, “Black girls can be ballerinas.” Ms. Copeland has two books in the works. One is a memoir, Life in Motion: An unlikely ballerina. The other is a book for children coming out in 2014 (G.P. Putnam Books for Young Readers) with illustrations from Christopher Myers. (If I can get one, I’ll review it for you here!)

Until then, I’ll remind you of a wonderful retro-read by Debbie Allen. Yes, if you are the same vintage (age) as I am, you remember Debbie Allen as the stick pounding dance master on the TV show Fame.

Her book Dancing in the Wings, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, pubbed in 2000 is still relevant today. I have an affinity for the main character Sassy who, like me, is tall with big feet. She is afraid that because her body type doesn’t match those of the other dancers, she will not be recognized for her talents. With some wise advice from her Uncle Redd, and a few missteps during an audition, she finds her path and a place in the summer dance festival in Washington, DC. The story is the classic ugly duckling turns swan but Sassy’s big personality (like her feet), the way she stands up to her brother’s nonsense, and the amazing illustrations by Kadir Nelson make this a great read.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Teen Golf Program: The First Tee

This week, I wanted to share a teen program making a difference across the country through the sport of golf. The First Tee. According to its website, “in 1997, the LGPA, Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and USGA formed a partnership with the help of Founding Corporate Partner, Shell Oil, to lead an initiative called The First Tee.”

The organization began “as a way to bring golf to kids and teens that otherwise would not be exposed to the game and its positive values.”

They teach a set of core values through the rules and etiquette of golf. I love the Core Values.

The First Tee Nine Core Values


Since 1997, the organization has impacted 7.5 million kids, and has active programs in all 50 states and internationally.

For more information, here’s a link to the website: THE FIRST TEE

I seriously love the core curriculum; teaching kids to respect themselves and others by learning rules of the game, dressing appropriately for the sport, being a good sport whether you win or lose, and being honest about their scores. In a lot of ways, the core values reminds me of the Girl Scout Law and Promise.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Girls in Sports News: Sept/Oct Roundup

We have been using our twitter account @sportygirlbooks to publicize current news about girls in sports. Here are some of our favorite articles that you might have missed:

September 17

October 10

October 22

These women rock. Boston Blades: the 1st Boston Professional Women's Hockey Team:
October 24
Girls Play Sports program has high school girls paying it forward

October 26