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?