No chasing! No stretching or straining! And never, ever sweat. These were the rules girls were forced to play by until Title IX passed in 1972. And it was a game-changer.
A celebration of the strength, endurance, and athleticism of women and girls throughout the ages, Girls With Guts! keeps score with examples of women athletes from the late 1800s up through the 1970s, sharing how women refused to take no for an answer, and how finally, they pushed for a law to protect their right to play, compete, and be athletes.
"I find that this book tells the story of courageous and remarkable women that has brought the opportunities for today’s girls in a positive and fun way even though the fight has not always been easy. But this book captures history in way where the first thought is strength and will of these remarkable ladies.
It is also a good book to remind that it is not that long ago that we were in a very different situation still. A good reminder that even though there are still things and attitudes to change, women’s sport has come a long way to the point we had in Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games for the first time ever, 50/50 female and male athletes competing!"
—Emma Terho, a multiple-time Olympic and Women’s World Championship bronze medalist
About the Author
Debbie Gonzales is an educator, curriculum consultant, former school administrator, and adjunct professor. She's the author of six books for New Zealand publisher Giltedge. She earned an MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives with her husband John and dog in Michigan.
Rebecca Gibbon is an acclaimed illustrator whose credits include Players in Pigtails and Elizabeth Leads the Way. She paints in watercolor ink and colored pencil, and bases her characters on the people she has met and seen over the years. Rebecca lives with her husband and two boys in the UK. www.rebeccagibbon.com
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. —Booklist
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