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Mar 18 2020 - 08:50 AM
Staff Picks: Women and Girls in Sports

The March Staff Picks collection of books for children and teens about Women and Girls in Sports, on the second floor of the Teachers College Gottesman Libraries, features profiles of outstanding female athletes of the past and present. The athletes include such notables as: sharpshooter Annie Oakley (b. 1860 - d. 1926); basketball player Agnes Morely Cleaveland (b. 1874 - d. 1958); road and track cyclist Tillie Anderson (b. 1875 - d. 1965); swimmer Gertrude Ederle (b. 1906 - d. 2003); jazz dancer Norma Miller (b. 1919 - d. 2019); track and field athlete Evelyn Ashford (b. 1957); and tennis players Althea Gibson (b. 1927 - d. 2003), Venus Williams (b. 1980), and Serena Williams (b. 1981). There are anthologies, reference handbooks, and how-to’s that explore a variety of sports, such as track and field, volleyball, soccer, rugby, and gymnastics. There are autobiographies by Olympic figure skating medalist Sonja Henie (b. 1912 - d. 1969), and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad (b. 1985), the first Muslim American woman to win an Olympic medal. There’s even a book about the 1929 “Powder Puff Derby” air race for women. In that book’s forward, the daughter of pilot Louise Thaden writes about her mother:

Her greatest wish for you would be that you dream big, and that you live your dreams just as she did.

- The Roaring 20: The First Cross-Country Air Race for Women, Margaret Whitman Blair



This exhibit coincides with Women's History Month held each March to commemorate, study, and celebrate the vital role women have played in American history. Sports is an important part of that history. Think about sharing with your students a personal story of how athletics has impacted your life. For me, it was becoming a lap swimmer in my twenties, and a commuting cyclist in more recent years. I didn’t pursue athletics in college, and had no opportunities in high school. At the time still all-women, Hunter High School offered no athletic facilities during the years of my enrollment, when the school occupied two floors of a midtown office building. A generation later, in a different school environment, my three daughters enjoyed a more positive experience. They were engaged in after school soccer, basketball leagues, and - for my youngest daughter - a volleyball career that took her school’s team to the State finals for the first time in its 100+ year history. After I joined the Services team two years ago, I started commuting to the Gottesman Libraries on a hand-me-down bicycle instead of taking the bus or subway. On days off, I bike as far uptown as the GW Bridge, and as far downtown as South Ferry. Being on my bike is still a highlight of each day, especially in these difficult times. I encourage you to dream big, in whatever sport inspires you.

In my opinion, the most engaging published works about women and girls in sports amplify an interest our students may already have, while also introducing them to something new. Some take the engaging forms of picture books, biographies, or anthologies. Many place the athletes and their stories in a historic context. Books about women and girls in sports for children and teens may be found in the JUV and CURR sections of the Gottesman Libraries shelves, on the second floor. They are classified under the Library of Congress (LC) symbol GV (Recreation; Leisure).


America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by David A. Adler; illustrated by Terry Widener. Category: Swimming.

Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women's Hoops on the Map by Sue Macy; illustrated by Matt Collins. Category: Basketball.

Bulls-eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley by Sue Macy; foreword by Bess Edwards. Category: Sharpshooting.

Coaching Evelyn: Fast, Faster, Fastest Woman in the World by Pat Connolly. Category: Track and Field.

Competitive Figure Skating for Girls by Kathryn M. Moncrief. Category: Figure Skating.

Competitive Track and Field for Girls by Claudia B. Manley. Category: Track and Field.

Competitive Volleyball for Girls by Claudia B. Manley. Category: Volleyball.

Girls Play Rugby by Emma Jones. Category: Rugby.

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James Ransome. Category: Tennis.

Make The Team. Gymnastics for Girls: A Gold Medal Guide to Great Gymnastics by Steve Whitlock for the U.S. Gymnastics Federation. Category: Gymnastics.


Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson by Sue Stauffacher; illustrated by Greg Couch. Category: Tennis.

Outstanding women athletes: Who They Are and How They Influenced Sports in America by Janet Woolum; forewords by Billie Jean King, Anita DeFrantz, and Deborah Slaner Anderson. 

Proud: Living My American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad. Category: Fencing.

The Roaring 20: The First Cross-country Air Race for Women by Margaret Whitman Blair. Category: Air Racing.

Shooting For the Moon: The Amazing Life and Times of Annie Oakley by Stephen Krensky; illustrated by Bernie Fuchs. Category: Sharpshooting.

Sports for Her: A Reference Guide for Teenage Girls by Penny Hastings.

Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, A Sewing Needle, and A Bicycle Changed History by Sue Stauffacher; illustrated by Sarah McMenemy. Category: Road and Track Cycling.

Trudy's Big Swim: How Gertrude Ederle Swam the English Channel and Took the World by Storm by Sue Macy; illustrated by Matt Collins. Category: Swimming.

U.S. Women's Soccer: Go for Gold! by Heather Alexander. Category: Soccer.

Wings on my feet by Sonja Henie. Category: Figure Skating.

Winning Volleyball for Girls by Deborah W. Crisfield and Mark Gola; foreword by Stacy Sykora. Category: Volleyball.

Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win by Rachel Ignotofsky.

Posted in: Learning at the LibraryStaff Picks|By: Simone Schloss|1309 Reads