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, August 25, 2015

Summer Roundup: A Groundbreaking Summer for Women in Sports

Women are breaking barriers in almost every sports arena. As the summer comes to a close, it's time to look back on all the groundbreaking moments from this summer for women in sports.

Excitement for Women's Soccer gripped the nation in July, with millions of fans watching on tv or heading to Canada to be there for the U.S. Women Team's win. According to SBNation, more Americans watched the Women's World Cup Finals then had watched the NBA finals or Stanley Cup, which sparked discussions on twitter, Facebook, and the national news over whether or not women in sports has been getting enough airtime. After the win, the members of the U.S. Team were invited to NYC for the first all women ticker tape parade. According to CNN, "the last time female athletes paraded along the Canyon of Heroes was in 1984, when gold medalists Mary Lou Retton and Cheryl Miller joined other U.S. medal winners -- male and female -- after the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles." 

The U.S. Women's Soccer team wasn't the only team to have a big win this summer. The U.S. Women's Baseball Team won the gold in the Pam Am games. According to US News, it was the first time women's baseball has been featured in a multi-sport event. Lessons supposedly learned after the U.S. Women's Soccer team coverage went big were ignored for the Baseball Team's debut as not one channel covered the event. Headlines and tweets appeared that made it known that many people weren't even aware there was a women's baseball team. Under the Team USA blog post about the win, the first comment is, "Women play softball, not baseball!" Followed by the response, "Looks like you've already been proven wrong, bub." If people didn't know that there were women's teams playing baseball, they do now.

The win wasn't the only women's baseball news this summer. At the start of the summer, a 16 yo baseball player from France named Melissa Mayeux made news when she became the first woman added to baseball's international registration list, which makes her eligible to be signed by a major league team.

People also continued to talk about Mo'ne Davis who made national news last summer when she pitched a shutout game during the Little League World Series, which landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Mo'ne wasn't the first girl to go to the series, and she won't be the last, which prompted the Little League to write an article about all 18 girls who have made it to the Little League World Series.

In football news, this summer saw the addition of two groundbreaking women to the sport. Jen Welter  became the first woman to coach an NFL game while Sarah Thomas became the first woman to work as a full-time on-field official. You can see a photo of the two women at Fox News, along with other news sites. You can learn more about Jen Welter's feelings about her role in football in her Behind the Facemask post.

This summer, the news reflected on Becky Hammon finishing her first season with the San Antonio Spurs as the first NBA female full-time assistant coach. She was quickly followed by Nancy Lieberman, who was hired to be an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Growing up as a sporty girl, I read many books about strong female athletes and their struggles and successes on and off the playing field. But I also read many incredible books about male athletes. So, when I heard about THE CROSSOVER, before its Newberry fame, I considered picking it up, but just couldn't imagine a book in verse from the POV of a basketball playing African American middle schooler. I imagined it would be like a poorly written rap song. (Sorry Kwame Alexander!)

But then, it won the Newberry and I had to give it another look. I don't like to be judged by my cover or by the little that someone might know about me before I get on the playing field, and I regret misjudging this book in the same way.

THE CROSSOVER is deep, it's powerful, and it made me cry more than I've cried in a rather long time while reading a book. One part in particular includes a letter to his brother that can be read as two separate poems or together as one. I pulled at my heart and made me ache in a way I didn't know was possible. This book is sports, it is family, it is about hardship and loss, and it is real, written in verse and all. I hope that our sporty girl readers will give it a try, too.

From Goodreads:
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

 Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

It’s August and I’m Ready To Dive In

Thumbs up! I have found my tribe and let me tell you it’s a bold, powerful group of people who love to watch, play, read, and write about girls in sports. My tribe is diverse and fit. My tribe is not just girls and women, but boys and men who recognize and support our passion. So, it is with a flutter of excitementsimilar to inching toward a 10K start line or adjusting my goggles prior to a mass swim startthat I join the bloggers of Sporty Girl Books.

My library, publishing, and editorial experience along with interest in the drama of athletic competition has steered me toward sports fiction and non-fiction. I’ve always been intrigued by the lives of athletes featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, such as Billie Jean King (tennis), Julie Moss (triathlon), Lynn Hill (rock climbing), and Jeannie Longo (cycling) to name a few. More recently, I’ve been inspired by Olympic and Paralympic athletes such as Gabrielle Douglas (gymnastics), Missy Franklin (swimming), Mia Hamm (soccer), Greta Neimanas (Paralympic cycling), Melissa Stockwell (Paratriathlon), and Brenda Villa (water polo). I’m fascinated by what makes an athlete leap back up after they fall and drive on through the finish line.

When I was young, my favorite books included HARRIET THE SPY and the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. Fast forward to today and my bookshelves include sporty girl books like, GIRLS GOT GAME and WHEELS OF CHANGE (Sue Macy), PLAYING TO WIN (Karen Deans), and LET ME PLAY (Karen Blumenthal).

While reviewing grant applications for a sports organization a few years ago, I was shocked to see a recommended reading list for girls with outdated titles. Surely there had to be more sports books where girls could see athletes like themselves? There is a need for more books on this topic plus titles that reflect the diversity girls see on the playing field and titles from diverse authors as well. I’m excited to contribute to this blog and look forward to bringing my perspective and experience to the conversation.

August is my birthday month, and I was curious to see who else is a Leo in the sporty girl world. 

August 4, 1958 - Mary Decker Slaney
Athletics. Four-time Olympian
Fun Facts: Mary is the only athlete to hold every American record from 800 to 10,000 meters. A double-decker is an iconic bus in the United Kingdom, but in track & field it is also a reference to the 1983 World Championships where Mary Decker did a "Double-Decker" when she won the 1,500 and 3000 meter races.

August 8, 1973 – Meg Galliard
Sailing. 2004 Summer Olympian
Fun Fact: Playing one sport in college is demanding, but Meg competed in two sports during her years at Connecticut College and is inducted in the school’s hall of fame for sailing and soccer.

August 10, 1985 – Stephanie Nesbitt
Synchronized swimming. 2004 Summer Olympic Games bronze medal
Fun Fact: Before Stephanie swims a program she has a ritual - she yawns to calm herself down.

August 23, 1982 – Natalie Coughlin
Swimming. Three-time Olympian
Fun Facts: She became the first woman to swim the 100m back in less than one minute.

August 25, 1927 - Althea Gibson
Fun Facts: Not only did Althea Gibson break racial barriers in tennis with her historic Wimbledon and French Open wins, but she was also the first African-American to play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association circuit.
Photo credit: TriDuo.com

Do you know of any other athletes or sporty girl authors who have a birthday this month?