Today marks the 32nd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD)! Started in 1986, National Girls and Women in Sports Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports, and according to the Women’s Sports Foundation, to “recognize the ongoing effort towards equality and access for women in sports and the nation’s commitment to expand sport and participation opportunities for all girls and future generations.” To celebrate, we’re highlighting five books that feature girls in sports:
Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, by Uma Krishnaswami
Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls’ team forming in Yuba City, California. Miss Newman, Maria’s teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls’ League to start a girls’ softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria’s parents—Papi from India and Mamá from Mexico—can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land during World War II. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world.
Allie’s Basketball Dream, by Barbara E. Barber, illus. by Darryl Ligason
Basketball is Allie’s favorite sport–she’s loved it ever since her father took her to her first game at Madison Square Garden. When her dad gives her a new basketball of her own, she hits the neighborhood courts, full of confidence. Allie’s story of self-determination is one that young athletes, both boys and girls, will recognize.
Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream, by Crystal Hubbard, illus. by Randy DuBurke
If there was anything in the world better than playing baseball, Marcenia Lyle didn’t know what it was. With spirit, spunk, and a great passion for the sport, Marcenia struggled to overcome the objections of family, friends, and coaches, who felt a girl had no place in the field. Full of warmth and youthful energy, Catching the Moon is the story of the girl who grew up to become the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team.
Get Set! Swim!, by Jeannine Atkins, illus. by Hector Viveros Lee
The day of the big swim meet has finally arrived, and Jessenia is excited, but a bit worried too. It’s her first meet away from home, and the other team is on a winning streak. Her coach tells the team that everyone is equal in the water, but Jessenia wonders if their team spirit is really enough to lead them to victory. Get Set! Swim! is the perfect reminder for young athletes that teamwork and pride are sometimes the truest victories of all.
**COMING JUNE 2018**
There’s No Base Like Home, by Jessica Mendoza and Alana Mendoza Dusan, illus. by Ruth McNally Barshaw
This is going to be eleven-year-old Sophia Maria Garcia’s best year ever: she’s going out for the softball team and she’s starting middle school. But all does not go according to plan. Sophia does not make the Waves softball team, and making friends at her new school does not go well. Maybe Sophia isn’t the pitcher she thought she might be. As the middle school blues set in, Sophia must figure out her own place, on the field and off.
ESPN baseball analyst and two-time Olympic medalist Jessica Mendoza teams up with her sister Alana Mendoza Dusan for their first highly illustrated novel for young readers.