Whether you’re a super soccer player, a great golfer, or a fabulous fencer, you are strong, both physically and mentally. It takes a lot of effort to dedicate yourself to a sport, and to be honest, sometimes girls have to work twice as hard as boys to prove themselves when it comes to athletics. I still remember finishing a ski race and having a boy me “You’re pretty good for a girl.” Rude! Luckily, there are some amazing role models, both fictional and real, that demonstrate what it means to be a woman in sports and illustrate how to power through.
Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite female athletes that rock some serious girl power!
You’re going to be cheering big time for adorably awkward heroine Magic Olive Poindexter! She is the most relatable tween, trying to live up to family expectations, make her way through messy middle school, and navigate rocky friendships. She proves that with a squad by your side, and faith in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind to.
Magic Olive Poindexter has big shoes to fill. Her mother was a professional cheerleader, her father is a retired NBA legend, her big sister is the new face of the oh-so-glamorous Laker Girls, and her grandmother was the first black cheerleader ever on Valentine Middle School's HoneyBee cheer squad. Magic wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps. But first, she has to survive Planet Pom Poms, the summer cheer camp where she'll audition for a spot on the HoneyBee squad. But with zero athletic ability and a group of mean girls who have her number, Tragic Magic is a long way from becoming the toe-touching cheerleader heroine she dreams of being.
Things start to look up when her best friend Cappie joins her at camp—until Cappie gets bitten by the popularity bug, that is. To make matters worse, Magic's crushing hard on football star Dallas Chase. Luckily, Magic's not alone: with the help of a new crew of fabulous fellow misfits and her Grammy Mae's vintage pom poms by her side, Tragic Magic might just survive—and even thrive—at cheer camp.
Nikki might be good at balancing a basketball and sinking shots, but the rest of her life? Not so much. And we’ve all been there! It can be tough to focus on your favorite sport when everything else is building up—but that’s also when you need the escape the most! I like to quote the OG High School Musical and say “Get’cha Head in the Game!”
Nikki wants to be a basketball star . . . but between school stress, friend drama, and babysitting woes, will she be able to make it on her new team? Judy Blume meets Mike Lupica in this pitch-perfect, action-packed, and funny novel.
The pressures of any competitive sport are challenging (and hello! Have you tried ice skating? The strength, balance, coordination required? Whoa!) But add to that the pressures of trying to figure out who you are, while people are trying to impose their own expectations, would be enough to make many athletes quit. There are so many examples of strong, hard-working girl athletes throughout the story–like Ana's best friend Tamar, who's always so supportive, as well as both Faith and Hope. Ana on the Edge is an inspiring story of friendship and identity, with some crazy-cool skating moves in between.
Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.
Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn’t correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he’s around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it’s tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.
I may or may not know something about being a little bit competitive. Any athlete knows what it is like to be so wrapped up in your favorite sport that it’s hard to think about anything other than that…and winning. Lola learns that being super competitive doesn’t always have the best outcome but with the help of her family and friends, figures out how to make up for it.
Lola Levine likes writing in her diario, sipping her mom’s cafe con leche, eating her dad’s matzo ball soup, and playing soccer with her team, the Orange Smoothies. So what if she doesn’t always fit in?
Lola is fierce on the field, but when a soccer game during recess gets too competitive, she accidentally hurts her classmate Juan Gomez. Now everyone is calling her Mean Lola Levine! Lola feels terrible, but with the help of her family, her super best friend, Josh Blot, and a little “pencil power,” she just might be able to turn it all around.
The entire TRACK series from Jason Reynolds is something to check out. PATINA centers on Patty who learns that while she may be a super-fast runner, running from your problems isn’t the greatest idea.
A newbie to the track team, Patina must learn to rely on her teammates as she tries to outrun her personal demons in this follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Ghost by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds.
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.
Snow sports! The thrill of adrenaline mixed with the chill of the air—what a combo. With so many amazing female athletes dominating the Winter Sports scene lately—Mikaela Shiffrin, Chloe Kim, Jessie Diggins, Lolo Jones (Yes Lolo Jones competes in Track & Field AND Bobsledding!) it’s awesome to have a fun alpine adventure to read and inspire young shredders.
A snowboarding prodigy tries to reclaim her standing as the “Golden Girl” at her elite winter sports academy in this brand-new M!X novel.
Lexi Miller—a.k.a. “Golden Girl”—is the snowboard cross queen. As the most promising student at her elite Vermont ski and snowboard school, Mountain Academy, Lexi is a shoo-in for the Olympic-level trial team. That is, until a freak fall during a snowboard-cross competition crushes her dreams and puts her future at stake.
And for some inspiring TRUE stories…
The U.S. women’s national soccer team is inspiring both on and off the field. While this non-fiction title showcases their 2019 win, many of the players are continuing to push for better awareness and support of female athletes. Talk about GIRL POWER!!
The U.S. women’s national soccer team cemented their legendary status with their 2019 World Cup championship. Get to know four of the team’s most talented players and prominent stars: the steadfast Carli Lloyd, superstar Alex Morgan, newcomer Mallory Pugh, and fearless Megan Rapinoe.
This action-packed biography collection brings readers onto the field with the women’s national team to experience the biggest moments of their careers, and the journeys that brought these players together. Complete with stats and photographs, this book makes the perfect gift for any young sports fan.
Ibtihaj’s story of becoming an Olympic fencer is powerful and motivating. She’s an advocate not only for girls in sports but for faith, staying true to yourself, and for fighting for representation. Ibtihaj even has a Barbie modeled after her! How cool is that?
The inspiring and critically acclaimed all-American story of faith, family, hard work, and perseverance by Olympic fencer, activist, New York Times bestselling author, and Time “100 Most Influential People” honoree Ibtihaj Muhammad.
Ibtihaj’s inspiring journey from humble beginnings to the international stage is told in her own words and enhanced with helpful advice and never-before-published photographs. Proud is an all-American tale of faith, family, hard work, and self-reliance.