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Awe-inspiring athletes

Ancona, George  Boys Dancing: From School Gym to Theater Stage
Gr. K–3
     48 pp.     Candlewick

Follow four boys as they rehearse for the National Dance Institute of New Mexico’s multi-school literature-themed recital. Ancona shows the joy, as well as the hard work, discipline, and strength of this art form. Large color photos of the boys at practice and in costume closely follow the brief, factual narrative. A great (and refreshing) introductory photo-essay about male dancers.
Subjects: Performing Arts; Dance

Copeland, Misty  Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina
Gr. 4–6, middle school    186 pp.     Simon/Aladdin

With Brandy Colbert. In this adaptation of her adult autobiography, Copeland chronicles her path to becoming a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre — the first-ever African American ballerina to achieve that distinction. Engaging prose frankly details obstacles to her hard-won success: poverty, family strife, body shame, injury, and, most significantly, racism. An inspiring, approachable memoir of an extraordinary dancer committed to making ballet accessible to all.
Subjects: Women—Autobiographies; Women—Dancers; Women—African Americans; African Americans; Dance—Ballet; Women—Biographies; Autobiographies

Cronn-Mills, Kirstin  LGBTQ+ Athletes Claim the Field: Striving for Equality
Middle school, high school
     104 pp.     Twenty-First Century

In a serviceable overview of LGBTQ+ athletes in U.S. sports at the professional, collegiate, and high school levels, Cronn-Mills considers the prejudices, fears, and other cultural forces that shape these athletes’ experiences. Although the history is scattered, the narrative offers engaging introductions to iconic and/or trailblazing individuals. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Transgender persons; Homosexuality; Gender identity; Sexual orientation; Biographies; Prejudices; Sports

Lloyd, Carli  All Heart: My Dedication and Determination to Become One of Soccer’s Best
Gr. 4–6, middle school
    290 pp.     Houghton

With Wayne Coffey. This readable and reflective adaptation of When Nobody Was Watching, Lloyd’s memoir for adults, traces the soccer superstar’s rise to fame. A simple first-person narrative, permeated with game highlights and soccer jargon, describes how she overcame challenges — including clashes with family members and coaches, injuries, recurring self-doubt, and unrealistic perfectionism — to become “one of soccer’s best.” With color photo inserts. Ind.
Subjects: Sports—Soccer; Women—Athletes; Women—Biographies; Women—Autobiographies; Autobiographies

Maraniss, Andrew  Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line: Young Readers Edition
Gr. 4–6, middle school
    252 pp.     Philomel

In 1966, Perry Wallace became the first African American to play college basketball in the Southeast Conference. Maraniss chronicles Wallace’s upbringing in segregated Nashville, success as a high-school scholar and athlete, and discrimination encountered as a star player at Vanderbilt. Adapted from the adult bestseller, the brisk narrative includes occasional racial slurs in its vivid depiction of the hate and racism Wallace experienced. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Prejudices; Race relations; Southern States; Sports—Basketball; African Americans; Biographies; Civil rights; Colleges and universities

Wambach, Abby  Forward: My Story: Young Readers’ Edition
Gr. 4–6, middle school
     211 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper

Adapting her adult memoir for a younger audience, the two-time Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion, and current all-time highest goal-scorer for the U.S. women’s soccer team writes with honesty about her life on and off the soccer field. Short chapters with pithy titles such as “Champion” and “Failure” reveal Wambach’s accomplishments and struggles. Girls will surely find inspiration in her compelling story.
Subjects: Women—Autobiographies; Autobiographies; Women—Biographies; Women—Athletes; Sports—Soccer; Homosexuality

Yomtov, Nel  The Belles of Baseball: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Middle school, high school
     112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library

Hidden Heroes series. This volume examines the history of women in baseball, specifically the formation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. In addition to an engaging overview of women’s participation in — and exclusion from — the sport, this volume provides biographical accounts of the most well-known female players and their accomplishments. Archival photos illustrate the account. Reading list, timeline. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Women—Athletes; Sports—Baseball; Gender roles

From the September 2017 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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