Macy, Sue. 2011. BASKETBALL BELLES: HOW TWO TEAMS AND ONE SCRAPPY PLAYER PUT WOMEN’S HOOPS ON THE MAP. Ill. by Matt Collins. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 9780823421633 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]
Told from the point of view of Stanford player Agnes Morley, this book recounts the first women’s intercollegiate basketball game. The competition against Berkeley took place indoors because many felt it wasn’t “proper for women to perspire in front of men.” The players, donned in bloomers and long-sleeved tops, energetically battled their opponents, slowing down only when a janitor had to fix an off-kilter basket. Morley concludes that “a lady can be tough and strong as well as refined and polite. She can even play basketball.”
BASKETBALL BELLES offers an exciting, play-by-play account of the historic game. The dynamic illustrations instantly transport the reader to 1896, extending the action on the court and enthusiasm of the female crowd. The early rules and uniforms will delight today’s readers. An informative author’s note, timeline, resource list, and photograph of the1896 Stanford team are also included. This story highlights the strong female spirit and the desire to be treated equally in all arenas.
Readers can brainstorm the ways basketball has changed since this early game. They can watch a short clip of a recent basketball game and describe the action. Children can discuss the idea of being a “lady,” and what it means, then and now. The teams’ cheers for one another at the end of the story can prompt a conversation about good sportsmanship.
More books about spirited, female sports-enthusiasts:
Macy, Sue. WHEELS OF CHANGE: HOW WOMEN RODE THE BICYCLE TO FREEDOM. (WITH A FEW FLAT TIRES ALONG THE WAY). 9781426307614
Vernick, Audrey. SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY. 9780061349201
By Jill Bellomy