Reviews /

Fantastically Great Women Sports Stars and their Stories

Authored by Kate Pankhurst
Illustrated by Kate Pankhurst
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Fantastically Great Women Sports Stars and their Stories is an illustrated non-fiction book that details the lives and accomplishments of trailblazing women in sport from ancient Sparta to modern day competitions. As part of a series of “Fantastically Great Women…” books by the same author, the text recounts eight stories that changed of people’s perceptions of what women are capable of across different sporting events.

The introduction provides a context for each woman’s story, such as how Cynisca had to circumvent the rules that excluded women from sport in ancient Greece and why Alice Milliat had to fight to make women’s sport part of the Olympic games. Each person’s story is then expanded in the chapters, with further details about the historical and geographical context or other people linked to the same sport. The narratives take place in a range of global settings and historical periods; they include discussions around key themes such as disability and discrimination in ways that celebrate achievement. The text is clearly written, although each page is very busy with a range of different fonts, images and layouts that will engage most readers but may mean those lacking confidence need support.

There is a list of other great sportswomen at the end of the chapters that could provide a starting point for research, and a glossary (although there are no clear links in the text to help the reader know which words are included). There is also a list of further readings for those who want to continue to explore.

Overall, this is an excellent book to have on the library shelves for readers aged 9+ and would support teaching about biography as well as how sport has changed over time. It would be challenging as a class text due to the number of illustrations and text boxes but would be a good text for guided reading.