How writing girls into sport can inspire the next generation

Rocky Race blogs about her struggle to find books about sport containing female role models.

Hi. My name is Rocky Race, and I love football. I play for my local team Sowerby, but I support Melchester United. You know, the one my supposedly famous older brother plays for?

‘Roy of the Rovers’ they call him. Whatever. This is about me!

Back when I was nine I went through the school library looking for books about me. About girls that play football.

I found nothing.

I visited the library in town for the same.

Nothing again.

I complained to the librarians. They said they were sorry. They’d done what they could. They’d even tried to import books from the USA, but there was nothing about girls’ sport other than ballet and ponies (not that there’s anything wrong with them, they’re just not for me).

I felt sad then. I genuinely thought that – maybe – I wasn’t meant to be a footballer. Maybe girls shouldn’t be footballers. If there’s no books about it, maybe it’s not a thing?

Then something amazing happened. This woman came into our school. An author. She was called Helena Pielichaty.  She started off telling us she supported Huddersfield Town, but I didn’t hold that against her. Because Helena Pielichaty was the author of books about me. Or people like me. The series was called Girls FC.

They were brilliant. I loved them. And I love her for writing books that made me think that I could be a footballer like my brother and play for England one day and lift the World Cup! (You heard it here first.)

I showed the third book in the series to my brother, Roy. (You know, the footballing legend. Hmm.)

He was like… I’m not reading them. They’re for girls.

And I said no they’re not. They’re for boys and girls. I read Harry Potter. Is that for boys because Harry is a boy?

He didn’t have an answer.

Try it, I said aiming Are All Brothers Foul? at his head.

He picked it up and smiled when he saw the title.

The next morning I said: ‘Are you going to read that book, then?’

He said: ‘I have.’

I was amazed. But I kept my cool.

‘Good. So you should. And?’

‘And… I like it,’ he said. ‘Can I borrow the next one?’

NEWSFLASH

THE FAMOUS FOOTBALLER, ROY RACE, LIKES BOOKS WHERE GIRLS ARE THE FOOTBALLERS!

Two questions for you.

One.

Why are there not enough books about girls doing sport?

Two.

Why do boys not like reading books with girls as the main characters?

BOOKS ABOUT GIRLS ARE NOT JUST BOOKS FOR GIRLS!

I went to see the librarian in town again recently. Fortunately, there’s now a few more books about girls doing sport than when I first asked.

Here are my favourites:

Patina by Jason Reynolds

Lily and the Rockets by Rebecca Stevens

Armistice Runner by Tom Palmer

Girls Can’t Hit by Tom Easton

Oh… and there’s a new one coming. It’s called Rocky. It’s my story. It’s got girls and boys playing football. There’s a cup final, and loads of drama. Buy or borrow it now!

 

Rocky, by Tom Palmer, is out now online and in book stores. To read Rocky, or any of the other Roy of the Rovers books and comics, visit www.royoftherovers.com to get your copy. 

For your chance to win a full set of Roy of the Rovers books and comics for your school library, head over to the Youth Sport Trust Twitter page and enter now!

Roy of the Rovers is a registered trademark, copyright © 2020 Rebellion Publishing IP Ltd.