Kirkus Reviews QR Code


The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber

by Sue Macy ; illustrated by C.F. Payne

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-0120-3
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Macy illuminates the pioneering sportswriter’s 50-year career.

One of three daughters, Garber was introduced to sports by her father. She quarterbacked football with boys, created a lively family newspaper instead of writing letters to relatives, and pursued newspaper work after college. A society reporter at Winston-Salem’s Twin City Sentinel, Garber got a career break during World War II. With the male sportswriters gone, her editor assigned her the sports pages. Garber soon moved to sports for good, covering competitive contests from football to marbles. Macy’s clear, anecdotal writing is backed with solid research and documented quotations. She highlights Garber’s coverage of Jackie Robinson and demonstrates that Garber made inroads too, reporting on games at North Carolina’s segregated African-American schools. She overcame her own discriminatory roadblocks as a woman barred from press boxes and locker rooms. Macy clearly connects Garber’s determination, talent, and sense of fair play with deserved recognition: she garnered a host of awards and widespread admiration. Payne’s otherwise handsome mixed-media illustrations present Garber in caricature—far more so than other figures. The artist disrespects Macy’s respectful narrative, depicting the petite Garber as an unchangingly childish figure throughout, with owlish round glasses, outsize head and ears, and scrawny neck.

A winning tribute to an important game-changer—with points off for its discordant pictorial representation.

(author’s note, acknowledgements, chronology, resources, sources, notes) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)