Gonzales describes the days when girls were discouraged from participating in sports, then introduces women who challenged society’s narrow expectations regarding girls’ athletics. After early nods to women excluded from the ancient and early modern Olympics, the text introduces a series of American women in sports, such as Gertrude Ederle swimming the English Channel in 1926 and Althea Gibson winning the French Open tennis tournament in 1956. Meanwhile, women marched for equal rights and congresswomen worked for new laws, culminating in Title IX, which created a more level playing field for girls and women in school sports. While the historical section of the text might challenge primary-grade children at times, a very accessible illustrated page opens and closes the book with these encouraging words, “Look at you … springing, / kicking, / dribbling / and pitching it down the pike. / Girl, you are amazing!” Created with acrylic, ink, and color pencils, the stylized artwork defines each historical period and maintains a buoyant tone throughout the book. A colorful, historical introduction to American women in sports.
In 2019, young girls look up to athletes like Olympic-medalist Simone Biles and the record-breaking Serena Williams as role models. But not that long ago, women athletes were excluded from many sports; if one goes further back in history, they were not allowed to compete at all. Gonzales highlights the achievements of women athletes who broke down the gender barriers. Starting with the first Olympic Games and bringing readers to the present day, the author creates a narrative using a time line of women in sports. Many well-known women athletes are highlighted such as tennis player Althea Gibson and Olympic swimmer Donna de Varona, in addition to many lesser-known names. The author also discusses Title IX, the legislation that mandated equal treatment for all women athletes. Gonzales adds information about the key congresswomen and other advocates who fought for the ratification of the legislation. Back matter includes a formal time line and an extensive bibliography. VERDICT: A great addition to any collection highlighting unknown women athletes and also explains the important legislation of Title IX for a young audience.
—School Library Journal