She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game

Philomel. Sept. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593114544.
PreS-Gr 3–The series’ latest picture book spotlights female sports icons who overcame sexism and proved how unwavering determination can lead to success. The text celebrates a diverse group of 16 women who became Olympic stars in 13 different sports. They often faced obstacles, such as childhood illnesses, disabilities, racial and religious prejudice, and restricting gender roles. Featured athletes include golfer Margaret Ives Abbott, swimmer Gertrude Ederle, track and field star Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, runner Wilma Rudolph, wheelchair racer Jean Driscoll, soccer player Mia Hamm, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, volleyball teammates Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, gymnast Simone Biles, and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Boiger’s cheerful illustrations are rendered in pen and watercolor. The verso features the subject depicted as a child and a short biography, which describes the particular challenges she faced and her accomplishments. The recto shows the adult athlete wearing Olympic medals around her neck and a quote from the athlete. This design choice emphasizes these encouraging words more than the layout of the previous books in this series.
VERDICT An appealing reminder that, with perseverance, girls can be athletes—or whatever else they choose.

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