Trailblazer: Lily Parr, the Unstoppable Star of Women’s Soccer

Maverick Arts. Aug. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781848866454.
K-Gr 3–Lily Parr, a white Englishwoman, loved football (called soccer in the United States) so much that she became a professional star, playing on women’s teams in England in the first half of the 20th century. At 14, she started playing for a women’s team called St. Helens Ladies. Alfred, the manager of another team, was so impressed by Parr’s skills that he offered her a job in his factory that had its own women’s team. Though Parr’s team attracted huge crowds, the English Football Association banned women’s teams from professional fields in 1921 because “the game of football is quite unsuitable for women.” Parr and her teammates carried on; she played the sport for 31 years. In 2019, Parr’s legacy was commemorated with a statue in the National Football Museum in Manchester, England. Dale’s brief biography uses speech and fact bubbles throughout the narrative. Coroa’s cartoonlike illustrations are digitally rendered; most cover a full spread. Characters are drawn as rosy-cheeked players, and their fans are dressed in period costume. The illustrations featuring Parr’s time show players and fans as predominantly white; the present-day illustrations depict a more racially diverse community. Further facts about Parr and football bounce across the endpapers.
VERDICT Aimed at very young fans, this English import stresses the obstacles Parr faced as a female player; it would pair well with stories of female baseball players, such as Marissa Moss’s Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen. A useful addition to larger collections.

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