Two picture books about … Girls who dared

2 pic books

You know how a lot of people have been binge-watching TV shows like “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix? Well, I’ve been binge-reading books by Shana Corey.

That’s because she writes about “old-time gals with gumption.”

Who doesn’t love an old-time gal with gumption?

Okay, maybe kids who love truck books and the like, but the description applies to many of my beloved children’s book characters, like Anne Shirley.

Among the Corey collection, two of my favorite books are Players in Pigtails and Mermaid Queen. Both feature girls who did things that were pretty different for their time.

In Players in Pigtails, the main character, Katie Casey, is a fictional composite of women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during WWII. Needless to say, if “A League of their Own” is one of your favorite movies, you’ll love this book.

Mermaid Queen tells the true story of Annette Kellerman, an Australian woman who was born with walking challenges but became a world-class swimmer and the inventor of water ballet and the modern swimsuit.

Shana Corey’s character selections are right up my alley (which makes me want to be friends with her), but even if they weren’t, I’d still be plowing through her books. Why? Because she an ace author.

Take the opening lines from Players in Pigtails, for instance.

Katie Casey wasn’t good at being a girl. At least not the kind of girl everyone thought she should be.

Her clothing was crumpled. Her knitting was knotted. Her dancing was a disaster. And no matter how hard she tried, her heart just wasn’t in home ec.

But there was one thing Katie was good at.


Katie could catch any ball with any mitt with her eyes closed. She could hit any ball with any bat with one hand behind her back. She preferred sliding to sewing, batting to baking, and home runs to homecoming.

Does that hook you, or what? It’s full of vivid scenes for illustrations, as well as flowing, patterned language for read-alouds. The text of Mermaid Queen can be described similarly. So here’s to Shana Corey, an inspiring writer, sharing tales of other inspiring women!

One thought on “Two picture books about … Girls who dared

  1. Pingback: Nonfiction picture book Wednesday: Fearless Flyer and Queen of the Track | Kara Newhouse

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