Yes, She Can!: Women's Sports Pioneers

Yes, She Can!: Women's Sports Pioneers

by Glenn Stout

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Not very long ago, many people said girls and women were too weak and delicate to play sports.

Fortunately, a lot of girls didn't listen. Trudy Ederle, Louise Stokes, Tidye Pickett, Julie Krone and Danica Patrick sure didn't. Trudy Ederle swam the English Channel, Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett made it into the Olympics running track, Julie Krone became jockey,


Not very long ago, many people said girls and women were too weak and delicate to play sports.

Fortunately, a lot of girls didn't listen. Trudy Ederle, Louise Stokes, Tidye Pickett, Julie Krone and Danica Patrick sure didn't. Trudy Ederle swam the English Channel, Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett made it into the Olympics running track, Julie Krone became jockey, and Danica Patrick decided to drive Indie cars. Yes, She Can! tells the inspiring stories of these pioneers in sports. Thanks to them, everyone knows now that girls can do anything they want. Perfect for young athletes, ages 9-12.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The second book in Stout's Good Sports series (following 2010's Baseball Heroes) profiles five women athletes who, as Stout writes in his introduction, "refused to be told what they could and could not do." In chapters devoted to swimmer Trudy Ederle, runners Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett, jockey Julie Krone, and Indy car driver Danica Patrick, Stout covers each woman's hard work, setbacks, and triumphs without minimizing the challenges and disappointments along the way (Stokes, one of the first two African-American Olympians, never got to compete during the Games, and success on the track proved elusive for Patrick). Accessible and inspirational. Ages 9–12. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"Accessible and inspirational."—Publishers Weekly

"Full of fascinating information about fascinating women in sports history."—Bookbabe blog

"Never patronizing, [Stout] captures both grit and glory in a fast-paced package that goes down easy even as it inspires."—Kirkus Reviews

"An inspiring read for anyone who has been told that she can’t, shouldn’t, or won’t do something because she is a girl."—Booklist

Named to the 2012 Amelia Bloomer List

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This is an excellent source for inspiration, with good examples of people following their dreams. The five athletes included came from various backgrounds and time periods: Gertrude Ederle, swimming star of the 1920s; Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett, track stars of the 1930s; Julie Krone, successful jockey in the 1980s; and Danica Patrick, winning Indy car racer in the 2000s. Each woman had her own battles to win and obstacles to conquer along the way. Important mentors and influences are cited. Through descriptive detail, Stout has a way of making readers feel as though they are actually in the water or on the muddy racetrack, etc. He makes each tale exciting and suspenseful—even for children who may know the outcome. An extensive "Sources and Further Reading" section includes a reference to fYouTube videos of the races of Krone and Patrick. While all subjects other than Stokes and Pickett have had several individual biographies written about them, this book is a unique collection about five inspiring female athletes—and it is a sure winner. A black-and-white photo of each woman in included.—Kate Kohlbeck, Randall School, Waukesha, WI
Children's Literature - Heather Robertson Mason
With women athletes on the rise, it is easy to forget how hard it was for women to break into sports. This book, one of the "Good Sports" series, highlights four women who had to fight for their chance to play. Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel though many thought it impossible for any woman ever to do so. Tidye Pickett and Louise Stokes, the first African Americans to earn places on the Olympic track team, bested all competitors until they became victims to racism at the 1939 Olympics in Berlin. Julie Krone literally had to fight her way to the Winner's Circle as America's first top female jockey. Danica Patrick was the first woman to compete as an equal in the Indy racing circuit, but most of the men she competed against just called her a pretty face. All of these women did what everyone around then was saying they could not do. Their stories are inspiring to read, especially for young athletes. They are not portrayed as victims, although Pickett and Stokes' experience was a sad one, but as women to look up to. The text is easy to read, but does not sound easy, and readers will relate with the stories. A fabulous biography about four people who often are not giving the credit they deserve. Reviewer: Heather Robertson Mason

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Good Sports
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
1040L (what's this?)
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Trudy’s Big Splash

On the morning of August 6, 1926, an editorial appeared in the London Daily News about the rights of women to compete in and play sports. The editorial ended, "Even the most uncompromising champion of the rights of women must admit that in contests of physical skill, speed, and endurance, they must forever remain the weaker sex." As residents of London read the paper over their morning tea, a young American woman named Trudy Ederle stood on the shore in France and looked out across the English Channel toward England, twenty-one miles away.

Although dozens and dozens of people had tried to swim the English Channel before, only five—all men—had made it across. Swimming the Channel is one of the most difficult and dangerous athletic feats in the world. Even today, more people have climbed Mount Everest than have swum the English Channel. In 1875, Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the Channel, a feat that took him nearly twenty-two hours to accomplish. The speed record was held by the third person to swim the Channel, Enrique Tirabocci, who in 1923 made the crossing in sixteen hours and thirty-three minutes.

Although many had tried, no woman had ever swum the English Channel. A few had made it within a few miles of the opposite shore before bad weather, fatigue, and tides forced them out of the water, and many more quit after only a few hours in the water. In 1925, in fact, Trudy Ederle had tried to swim the Channel only to fail. Although she had been considered the greatest female swimmer in the world at the time, many observers thought that if Trudy could not swim the Channel, then no woman could.

Trudy disagreed and decided to try again. Now, just a few minutes after seven a.m., she adjusted her swimming goggles and stepped into the water. When the waves reached her chest, she took a deep breath, looked up at the sun peeking through the hazy summer sky, and whispered, "God, help me." Then, with a big splash, she dove beneath the waves and started swimming.

Trudy was determined to succeed this time. She knew that a woman could swim the English Channel.

All she had to do was prove it.

Meet the Author

Glenn Stout is the series editor of The Best American Sports Writing and author of more than forty non-fiction sports biographies under the auspices of Matt Christopher. He is also the author of Baseball Heroes, the first title in the Good Sports series. He lives in Alburgh, VT. Visit Glenn at

GLENN STOUT is the author of Young Woman and the Sea and Fenway 1912.

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