GIRLS WITH GUTS! by Debbie Gonzales


The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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Girls in sports!

This cheerfully illustrated survey of efforts to make women’s athletics socially acceptable and financially supported provides snippets of information and visually appealing portrayals of female barrier-breakers over time. The tone is a bit naïve—it assumes that readers will be shocked by the sexism of yesteryear—and arbitrary-feeling italicized phrases (“And never, ever sweat”; “Game on!”) interrupt the flow of the text. It’s light on diversity: While ancient and modern Greece (1896 Olympic marathoner Melpomene) are mentioned, the focus is almost entirely on white Americans (Frances Willard, Senda Berenson Abbot, Eleanora Sears, Gertrude Ederle, Margaret Gisolo, Donna de Varona, Maria Pepe), with only brief mentions of women of color Althea Gibson, Shirley Chisholm, and Patsy Mink—although African-American athletes are featured in the timeline, and a multiracial cast of girls are shown in sports today. The somewhat simplified ending holds that through Title IX, girls now receive equal treatment in athletics, ignoring the world outside of the United States as well as the fact that boys’ sports may still receive preference within it. Still, there is nothing similar for this age group, and readers will be interested in the progress of women in sports and drawn in by the excitement of the passage of Title IX.

A welcome, though flawed, introduction to the history of girls and athletics. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 14th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-58089-747-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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