Players in Pigtails

Written by: Shana Corey

Illustrated by: Rebecca Gibbon

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Women in Sports, Historical Figures, Baseball, Feminism. 

Summary: This is a great book about the phenomenon of women’s baseball teams around WWII, when most of the men were off fighting in the war. Part history and part historical fiction, the reader learns about the little-known history of the sport.  Girls all across the country loved playing baseball, but there were no teams or opportunities for women.  The war provided that for a few years, until men came back and the advertising campaign of “the perfect housewife” came into play, forcing women back into the home and out of the public life filled with freedom that they had been accustomed to.

In the 1940’s, these players were also expected to still embody the femininity that was typically associated with women.  Thus, the players had to wear skirts and makeup on the field.  The song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was even written about a female player!

There is an extensive Author’s Note about her own journey learning about these famous athletes that have been mostly lost to history.  A League of Their Own is a popular film that recounts these teams!

We imagine that grandparents and older folks would have a lot to recount about this era!  Corrie’s nana used to talk about working in a factory as the best years of her life, because she got to hang out with her friends and make some money.  She even refused to marry Corrie’s papa until he came back from the war, because she didn’t want to be tied down!

Reflection Questions:

  • What did you learn?
  • Do you like to play baseball?
  • Do you think everyone can play sports?
  • Why do you think that there aren’t anymore professional women’s baseball teams?
  • What do you know about softball?
  • Do you think it’s the same in popularity as baseball?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

image-assetShana Corey grew up in the South—in Savannah and Athens, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.  From her website: “When I was little, I loved stories about olden-day girls—my favorites were Betsy-Tacy, All-of-a-Kind Family, and Little House on the Prairie. When I wasn’t reading books about olden-day girls, I loved playing olden-days with my sister, Marci. (We always fought over who got to be Laura. Marci had braids, which worked in her favor, but I was older and bossier so I usually won.) So imagine my delight when I went to college and discovered that I could take entire classes on (and get credit for learning about) olden-day girls! (Yay, Smith College!) I learned to call it women’s history, but really, it was the same topic I’d been interested in since I was five.

Now I have the great pleasure and honor of editing books for children myself. A lot of the books I edit—like Babymouse and Junie B. Jones—take place nowadays, but some, like Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm and The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis, are about olden-day girls. I also write picture books, most of them true stories about brave women and girls in history, women like Amelia Bloomer and Juliette Gordon Low, women with gumption and guts who had the courage to take a stand for the things they believed in, even when the rest of the world told them they were wrong. That kind of person inspires me because I think it’s exactly that kind of courage that changes the world.

I live in Brooklyn, New York, with my family. When I’m not writing or editing, I’m usually reading with my kids. They like stories about the olden-days too (and graphic novels and series and books that make them laugh and…).”

If you’d like to find out more about Shana, you can check out these interviews:

Old-time Gals with Gumption | The Picture Books of Shana Corey

Scholastic Author Bio

Authors Note From Shana Corey

• The Mermaid Queen, Shana Corey, and Some Art That’ll Really Wake You Up

• Shana Corey: Her Life in Books

Author-Editor Feature: Shana Corey of Random House

8bfd807bba20d6b27a1109a6781ef3c9Illustrator Rebecca Gibbon was born in Wales in 1968. The youngest of four children she was fed on a diet of picture books by Edward Ardizzone, Roger Duvoisin & Richard Scarry; she dreamt of being an illustrator. Her favourite book was “Frances Face-Maker” by Tomi Ungerer.

Her ambition was realized after gaining a first class Honours degree from John Moores University and consequently a Masters at Royal College of Art, London. While at the RCA she was spotted at a childrens book expo in Paris by a french Agent. Since graduating she has worked all over the globe and is represented world wide by Illustration Ltd

Rebecca paints in watercolour ink & coloured pencil, and bases her characters on the people she has met and seen over the years. She used to paint on newsprint until one day she looked back at some old work and it had all faded. Lesson learnt, she now works on acid free cartridge paper.

She lives with her husband and two boys in what was once the Old Village Stores, surrounded by their eclectic collections of vintage childrens books, balloon pumps & 1950’s ceramics. She loves junk shops, flea markets, drinking tea & of course drawing.

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