Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sports Fiction & Nonfiction Featuring Girls

As we are in the midst of the Winter Olympics, and Women's History Month starts in a couple of weeks, and particularly because one of our local teachers asked me to create a list of fiction books featuring a girl(s) playing a sport, this list was born. It was not easy. It became sadly clear that there are comparatively few fiction books in the teen collection that have a girl playing a sport as the main story line compared to the many books that feature a boy(s) playing a sport. The following is what I was able to find relevant to the request. Included in this list are narrative nonfiction books and a couple of biographies. There are of course many more biographies than are included here, but the request was for fiction.


Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America, by Karen Blumenthal, 2005. Explores the history, struggle, and passage of Title IX, the law that allowed girls the freedom to pursue sports of their choosing, and the effects this law has had on society since its inception. Nonfiction

Rising Above: Inspiring Women in Sports, by Gregory Zuckerman with Gabriel and Elijah Zuckerman, 2018. The athletes featured in this book met earth-shaking challenges head on, and through hard work and perseverance, went on to conquer the sports world. This collection of mini biographies includes first-hand content drawn from interviews. Nonfiction


The Girl Who Threw Butterflies, by Mick Cochrane, 2009. Eighth-grader Molly's ability to throw a knuckleball earns her a spot on the baseball team, which not only helps her feel connected to her recently deceased father, who loved baseball, it helps in other aspects of her life, as well.

A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, by Sue Macy, 1993. Describes the activities of the members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the women's professional baseball league that existed between 1943 and 1954. Nonfiction

Under the Baseball Moon, by John Ritter, 2006. Andy and Glory, two fifteen-year-olds from Ocean Beach, California, pursue their respective dreams of becoming a famous musician and a professional softball player.


In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle, by Madeleine Blais, 1995. A look at the trials and triumphs of high school girls' basketball chronicles one season of the Lady Hurricanes of Amherst, Massachusetts, as they learn loyalty and self-confidence on their way to a championship game. Nonfiction

Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn, Larry Colton, 2000. Profiles a Montana high-school girls' basketball team--made up of Crow Indian and white girls from a rural town--that carries on its shoulders the dreams and hopes of a Native American tribe during their winning season. Nonfiction

Tall Story, by Candy Gourlay, 2011. Sixteen-year-old Bernardo, who is eight feet tall and suffers from a condition called gigantism, leaves the Philippines to live with his mother's family in London, much to the delight of his thirteen-year-old half sister Andi, a passionate basketball player.

Boost, by Kathryn Mackel, 2008. Thirteen-year-old Savvy's dreams of starting for her elite basketball team are in danger when she is accused of taking steroids.

Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team that Barnstormed its Way to Basketball Glory,by Lydia Reeder, 2017. At the height of the Great Depression, Sam Babb, the charismatic basketball coach of tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College, began dreaming. Traveling from farm to farm, he recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a chance at a better life: a free college education if they would come play for his basketball team, the Cardinals. Nonfiction



Dairy Queen, Catherine Murdock, 2006. After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, 16-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her. First book in trilogy.

Playing with Boys, Liz Tigelaar, 2008. When 15-year-old Lucy and her father move to Malibu, California, Lucy tries out for the varsity football team and feels strong and in control for the first time since her mother's death--as long as her overprotective father does not find out.
                                            Gymnastics

Tumbling, by Caela Carter, 2016. After sacrificing their childhoods, Grace, Leigh, Camille, Wilhelmina, and Monica are competing in the two days of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, after which their lives will change forever.

Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything, by Aly Raisman, 2017. Honest and heartfelt, frank and funny, Aly's story is enhanced with never-before-published photos, excerpts from the personal journals she's kept since childhood that chronicle memorable moments with her teammates, and hard-won advice for readers striving to rise above challenges, learn to love themselves, and make their own dreams come true. Biography


Hockey                               

Power Play, by Jack Maddox, 2016. Ninth-grade hockey player Kyla Woodson is hoping to win a spot on the varsity team mid-season--but she has at least one serious rival for the coveted position, and her supressed anger over her parents recent divorce seems to keep getting in the way.

Horse Racing

Jockey Girl, by Shelley Peterson, 2016. When Evie learns that her mother is alive, she hatches a plan to enter the Caledon Horse Race and win enough money to find her and leave her unloving father.

           Martial Arts

Re-Gifters, by Mike Carey, 2007. Meet "Dixie" as she's known to her friends. She's living on the ragged edge of LA's Koreatown, and her only outlet is the ancient martial art of hapkido. She's on the verge of winning a championship -- until she falls for fellow hapkido fan/California surfer boy Adam and gets thrown spectacularly off her game. As she struggles to win the tournament Dixie learns that in love and in gift-giving, what goes around comes around. Graphic Novel

Skating                   

Spinning Away, by Jake Maddox, 2017. Twelve-year-old Maggie and her twin sister are both figure skaters, but Maggie is trying to find her own style while her sister remains firmly under their mother's thumb--so when their old coach leaves, Maggie seizes the opportunity to try out some of the new spins she has been creating, even if it means upstaging her twin.

Spinning, by Tillie Walden, 2017. A graphic memoir recounts the years Walden spent competitively figure skating, before her developing love of art and first girlfriend causes her to question the insular world of figure skating. Graphic Format Biography 

                                      Soccer                      

Arch Enemy, by Paul Hoblin, 2013. When defender Addie turns down her teammate and close friend Eva's offer to be more than friends, she is at a loss for what to do when her former friend starts sending her mean notes and sabotaging her play on the field. Counterattack Series

The Beast, by Paul Hoblin, 2013. When a concussion takes out the team's talented starting goalie Alyssa Duncan, a teammate replaces her temporarily and plays so well that Alyssa wonders whether she will be healed and good enough retake her old position by the playoffs. Counterattack Series

Blow Out, by M.G. Higgins, 2013. Lacy Sheridan is doing her best to get over the fear she still feels after a knee injury from last season, but tough Raven McAlister is competing for Lacy's starting position and sees a chance to exploit Lacy's fear for her own benefit. Counterattack Series

Offside, by M.G. Higgins, 2013. Faith Patel feels out of place among her teammates because her family can't afford for her to play in club leagues like the other girls, so when the coach starts to give her extra help and attention she starts to develop a crush. Counterattack Series
Out of Sync, by Amanda Humann, 2013. Close friends Madison and Dayton play together so well that they are a scoring machine for their team, but when Dayton becomes more interested in partying than soccer, Madison worries about their chances of getting onto a good college team. Counterattack Series

Under Pressureby Emma Carlson Berne, 2013. A few weeks before a scout from her preferred college is to visit, Elise turns to shady performance supplements when she sees that some of her teammates are outplaying her in spite of her hard work. Counterattack Series

Soccerlandby Beth Choate, 2010. When Flora leaves her family and their Maine potato farm for a tryout at the International Sports Academy, she struggles to hold her own through injuries, learning new positions, and contempt from other players.

Soccer Chick Rules, by Dawn Fitzgerald, 2007. While trying to focus on a winning soccer season, 13-year-old Tess becomes involved in local politics when she learns that all sports programs at her school will be stopped unless a tax levy is passed.


Pretty Tough, by Liz Tigelaar, 2007. Two feuding sisters from Malibu, California, take their rivalry to the soccer field when both girls make the high school team.

Track          

The Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen, 2011. When a school bus accident leaves 16-year-old Jessica an amputee, she returns to school with a prosthetic limb and her track team finds a wonderful way to help rekindle her dream of running again.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Ms. Claire! This is a fabulous list -- I just put 4 titles on my personal wish-list! I do hope that the publishing industry will wake up soon to the fact that girls play sports just as much (and as passionately) as boys do. Meanwhile, you've given us a great starting point for our young readers who like sports fiction to experience the genre with a female protagonist. -- Ms. Austin

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  2. Thanks Ms. Austin. I will add to this list as I find relevant books. Today I added two more titles and created a track category.

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