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.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Celebrate 2019 International Day of the Girl with SERENA: THE LITTLEST SISTER

"We need to uphold the equal rights, voices, and influence of girls in our families, communities, and nations. Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life." — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

It's fitting that today as we celebrate the October 11 InternationalDay of the Girl, we feature this engaging book that celebrates Serena Williams, an inspirational and powerful agent of change.

In this picture-book biography, Karlin Gray (author of NADIA: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still) introduces readers to a younger Serena, the littlest Williams sister. She went on to become ranked number one in the world in tennis, hold the most Grand Slam titles, and add four time Olympic gold medalist, UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador, plus fashion and interior designer to the list of achievements.

Gray addresses the question: How does having a sibling affect athletic interest or performance? Just ask anyone with a sibling who plays a sport and the answer might be, “I didn’t want to be compared to my brother/sister so I joined (fill in the blank) team” or “I was bored watching my sister play from the sidelines so I joined along.” Serena was just four-years-old when she followed her four older sisters Venus, Lyndrea, Isha, and Yetunde onto the public tennis courts in Compton, California. She was part of a team, a family who dedicated themselves to one sport: tennis.

While many may be familiar with the sisterly, competitive bond of Serena and Venus, Gray shares the different interests of all the sisters and how each influenced their little sister on and off the court. I highly recommend this sporty girl book, SERENA: THE LITTLEST SISTER, that is beautifully illustrated by Monica Ahanonu, an artist who “loves creating art that features bright colors and strong black women.”

The back matter includes a follow-up to what each sister is currently doing with quotes from each and a bibliography (books, periodicals, film/TV, and Websites).

Monday, August 26, 2019

My Book Pick for Women’s Equality Day is Mara Rockliff’s Billie Jean!

By Brenda Barrera

August 26th marks Women’s Equality Day in the United States, when we celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving white women the right to vote. (Note: it took many more years before women of color were guaranteed that same right). This is an ideal day to celebrate the newly released picture book biography BILLIE JEAN! HOW TENNIS STAR BILLIE JEAN CHANGED WOMEN'S SPORTS by Mara Rockliff and beautifully illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley that introduces young readers to this iconic tennis player.

Rockliff, author of several historical books for children, offers a glimpse into Billie Jean’s life from childhood, through her rise in the tennis ranks and winning numerous major championships, to her historic televised “Battle of the Sexes” match with Bobby Riggs and forming an all-women’s tennis tour. A common theme throughout? Not accepting “no” for an answer when it came to playing the sport she loved or fighting for women’s rights and equal pay. Readers trying to break the habit of cursing might take a cue from Billie Jean. When she was miffed or missed a drop shot, she would call out “peanut butter!” It’s noteworthy that Rockliff highlights the value of training hard to win over the emphasis of looking pretty in addition to unbalanced media coverage with different questions directed to male competitors compared to athletes like Billie Jean. Both still occur.

The back matter includes an Author’s Note with specific statistics (she won 39 Grand Slam Championships); dates (1973 was the year the US Open Tennis Championship offered men and women equal prize money); and personal information (she and Olympic swimmer Donna De Varona founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and she also came out as gay in the 1980s).

This delightful, important picture book is a reminder that ensuring equality does not happen overnight, but thanks to leadership from athlete/activists like Billie Jean King, much progress has been made. It’s also a timely book choice to tie into the US Open Tennis Championship which occurs every August/September.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: THERE’S NO BASE LIKE HOME

By Brenda Barrera
Typically, I review Picture Books or Adult Nonfiction/Sports titles and have not reviewed Middle Grade (MG) books but when I saw the opportunity to participate in this year’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld, I jumped over to my keyboard and sent off a reply, “Yes! I’d love to be included and help promote books that celebrate diversity!”

I scanned the book choices, and immediately recognized co-author Jessica Mendoza’s name for THERE’S NO BASE LIKE HOME (Tu Books an imprint of Lee & Low Books). Not only is Mendoza a two-time Olympian (2004, 2008) but she’s a trailblazer in another sports profession—in 2016 she made history when ESPN named her a TV analyst for Major League Baseball. Her sister and co-author, Alana Mendoza Dusan, understands the sport pretty well, too, she played DI baseball at Oregon State University.

This delightful story follows 12-year-old Sophia Garcia throughout the school year as she navigates the move from elementary to middle school. It hits all the bases of what it’s like to go through these changes plus it accurately portrays sibling dynamics of what it's like to follow in the steps of her older sister Ellie, a talented softball pitcher. Sophia is crushed when she doesn’t make the cut for her sister’s former team, the Waves, but rebounds when she's asked to join a start-up team called the Quakes. It’s noteworthy that the Quakes have a positive role model and insightful female coach, CJ.

Certain to be a hit for readers interested in sports, softball, or Hispanic athletes and scores high in depicting real life insecurities of forging new friendships while maintaining old ones, and daily life experiences of growing up in a working-class family. This captures the beauty of “La Familia” celebrating life's accomplishments with a dynamic extended family and sharing traditions like making tamales. Hmmm, that bought back memories from my childhood and making tamales with my abuela!

Readers familiar with the Ellie McDoodle Diaries Series will recognize the work of the talented award-winning author/illustrator RuthMcNally Barshaw that liven the text and capture the emotion and the spirit of Sophia, her family, and teammates. (I have to give Ruth a shout out since we are both MSU alumnae – Go Green!)

THERE’S NO BASE LIKE HOME has a whole lotta heart and humor. It celebrates teamwork, friendship, family, and through Sophia’s firsthand account shows how participating in sports can build self-confidence and facilitate valuable life lessons. Highly recommend! Also, this is an ideal reading pick for the upcoming National Girls and Women in Sports Day to be held on February 6, 2019!

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

We will be giving away Book Bundles every 5 minutes!

Twitter Party Details:

When: Friday, January 25th
Time: 9 pm to 10 pm EST
Hashtag: #ReadYourWorld
Sponsored By: Make A Way Media
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.