Hoops

 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
530 0
Hoops
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
March 14, 2023
ISBN
978-1536201369
Buy This Book
      
A work of fiction inspired by a true story, Matt Tavares’s debut graphic novel dramatizes the historic struggle for gender equality in high school sports.

It is 1975 in Indiana, and the Wilkins Regional High School girls’ basketball team is in their rookie season. Despite being undefeated, they practice at night in the elementary school and play to empty bleachers. Unlike the boys’ team, the Lady Bears have no buses to deliver them to away games and no uniforms, much less a laundry service. They make their own uniforms out of T-shirts and electrical tape. And with help from a committed female coach, they push through to improbable victory after improbable victory. Illustrated in full color, this story about the ongoing battle of women striving for equality in sports rings with honesty, bravery, and heart.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Overcoming unfairness in society
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
What worked:
Sports fans will enjoy this story of high school girls forming a basketball team, hoping to win Indiana’s inaugural state championship for girls. Judi is the main character and she’d rather be playing basketball instead of cheering on the sidelines. It highlights the lack of athletic options for girls in the mid-1970s. Young readers can connect with Judi’s imagination as she practices alone on the driveway. She bounces passes off the chimney, fakes out the bush, and dreams of making the game-winning shot. The school has never had a girls’ team and one teammate’s “game” experience is playing on her own driveway against her brothers and parents. Readers will enjoy the journey as the team evolves from nothing into the eventual state champion!
The main conflict is the girls’ fight for equal treatment with the boys. Their first practice is at a nearby elementary school where they discover they have no coach and must practice on their own. They can’t practice at the high school until the evening since the varsity boys, junior varsity boys, and freshman boys use the gym after school. The girls don’t have uniforms and are forced to stick electrical tape numbers to white t-shirts. They must find their own transportation to away games and they must pay for their own meals while traveling. Uniforms (including laundry), transportation, and food are all provided for the boy players. This discrepancy in conduct and policy irks and angers the girls as the plot reflects the true history and feelings experienced during this time in U.S. history.
The athletic director offers society’s contrasting view of the girls’ team. Title IX is enacted by the federal government which provides more athletic opportunities for girls, but it doesn’t provide any support or funding for school districts. The athletic director justifies his decisions by saying the school doesn’t have any extra money and the boys can generate funds by filling the gymnasium with fans. The public is apathetic and doesn’t offer support for the girls since the community barely even knows their team exists. While attitudes are better, many young girls still experience lingering prejudices as they pursue their own athletic and personal aspirations today.
What didn’t work as well:
The book is based on true events and it doesn’t stray too far from non-fiction. The plot is straightforward and doesn’t present any twists or surprises. The girls fight for equal treatment as they chase their dreams of a state championship. The last pages of the book include an “Author’s Note” that explains his inspiration and why he sticks primarily to the actual events and experiences of the girls.
The Final Verdict:
This book offers a motivational story of young girls overcoming societal adversities in pursuit of fulfilling their greatest hope. All readers can learn from this experience and hopefully help to change prejudicial attitudes that still exist. I recommend you give this book a shot.
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Fantastic Historical Sports Graphic Novel
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Judi plays a lot of pick up basketball games with her brothers in early 1970s Indiana, but when she enters high school, she joins the cheerleading squad with her best friend Stacey. When a girls' basketball team is started because of Title IX, she goes to the tryouts to check it out. Everyone makes the team, but the playing conditions are less than ideal. They have to practice at an elementary school, and there's not even a coach, because the administration thinks it should be an unpaid, volunteer position, but the coach fights to be paid, and for the girls to have the high school gym at 7 p.m. for practice. There are still no uniforms, so the girls put their numbers on white t shirts with electrical tape. Judi quits cheerleading, which angers Stacey, but she makes new friends in fellow teammates Tree and Lisa. The school won't bus the girls anywhere; the coach borrows a relative's Winnebago to drive them. Tree's boyfriend is on the track team, and the boys there loan the girls their warm up suits. There are no team meals, so Judi buys babyfood meals at a convenience store. The girls even work together to sell tickets, since the principal says the boys get perks because the school makes money on their games. Sadly, even though they sell tickets, no one shows up. They publicize their games on the radio, and as the season progresses and they do well, they manage to get some support from the community. When they make some demands to even the playing field, they meet a lot of resistance. Will they be able to successfully make their case for equality and have a successful basketball season?
Spoiler: Fifty years later, we are still waiting for sports equality.
Good Points
This was not only a fun read, it's important for young readers to know what life was like. I frequently tell my students that my high school didn't have a girls' cross country team until 1981, and they are flabbergasted. The level of detail about the challenges the girls faced was perfect, and I loved the notes about the real players on whom this is based! The fashions, the way the buildings looked, details like eating the babyfood (the fruit desserts are the best, by the way!), even Judi's Toni Tennille haircut are spot on. Judi clearly loves basketball, has grown up in a cultural that values it, and wants her own chance to be in the spotlight with her formidable skills. Excellent, excellent book!

The illustrations really captured the look of the 1970s- hairstyles, clothing, cars, buildings. The one small exception was the sleds. They look like the plastic ones my children had in the early 2000s. Flexible Flyers would have been the sled most people had in the 1970s, although I'm sure they are much harder to draw!

I knew this author from his Growing Up Pedro, but I have to say that his real strength is graphic novels and he should devote his entire life to writing them from now on. Forget picture books. There are plenty of picture books. Sports graphic novels, not so much! It is interesting that graphic novels are heavily skewed towards female characters, but more boys seem to read them. Love, love, loved this personally, and think it will be popular with my students as well. Pair with Wilson's Play Like a Girl and Maraniss' Inaugural Ballers.
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