True stories of 3 diverse athletes and 1 female sportswriter | #IMWAYR 4/18/16

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“It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” is a meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. as a way for bloggers to swap reading lists. Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, gave it a kidlit focus. Check out the links on their page to see what others are reading this week.

It finally turned springlike in recent days, with buds on trees, and kids returning to baseball diamonds and lacrosse fields.

Apropos of the change in season, I’ve read several great children’s books about athletes (and one sportswriter) recently. Here are my Goodreads reviews for those books.

Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball DreamCatching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream by Crystal Hubbard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This picture book is about Marcenia Lyle, a girl who loves baseball more than anything. We learn in the afterword that Marcenia was signed to the Negro League Indianapolis Clowns in 1953, making her the first female member of an all-male professional baseball team, but this story doesn’t get into Marcenia’s adult life. It focuses on one spring when Marcenia dreams of being accepted to a summer baseball day camp run by the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. That means not only showing off her skills to the man in charge, but also convincing her father to let her attend.

Crystal Hubbard’s choice to highlight one emblematic chapter of Marcenia Lyle’s childhood is a great way of introducing a lesser known athlete through a conflict that builds and that draws in young readers.

The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the GameThe William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

William Hoy is a man worth knowing about. Plenty of details and events in here for all kinds of kids to relate to. Well written and well illustrated.

Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary GarberMiss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a journalist and a woman, so I was predisposed to like this picture book biography of sportswriter Mary Garber.

Garber’s story is not one of extreme showdowns or ostentatious trailblazing. Instead she “did her job with steady determination,” and the tone of the book matches that ethic. Author Sue Macy conveys the challenges Garber faced with straightforward narrative about being barred from press boxes or
In C.F. Payne’s illsutrations, Garber does not dominate the scenes, but she’s there, on the sidelines, wearing her granny glasses and carry her notepad, ready to do her job.

What I love most about Mary Garber’s story, though, is actually not about her being a women in the the still-male-dominated arena of sports journalism. It’s some of the other details, like the fact that she covered sports games at all-black schools in North Carolina when most white reporters did not. Or that she would encounter adults who still carried around copies of the stories she wrote about them as kids. Mary Garber understood the importance of the press for informing people and shaping community values, and she didn’t forget it in her daily work.

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest WomanWilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s impressive enough that Wilma Rudolph was the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics, but to learn that she became a world-class runner only 10 years after walking in leg braces? Incredible.
The story is well-written — it holds up 2 decades after publication — with compelling illustrations in an almost cubist style.

View all my reviews

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6 thoughts on “True stories of 3 diverse athletes and 1 female sportswriter | #IMWAYR 4/18/16

  1. I have two copies of Wilma Unlimited. (a personal copy and one for our library) It is one of my favourite stories of a woman who overcomes so much. I’m hoping to read the rest of these as well, especially the story of Mary Garber.

    • Truly. It always amazes me to learn about people whose accomplishments are in physical accomplishments like running or dance but who either had a physical obstacle to overcome or just didn’t start till they were older kids/teens. I think the latter is true of ballerina Misty Copeland, if I remember correctly.

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