'A heartfelt, informative, and thoroughly engaging picture book biography.' 'School Library Journal (starred review) From beloved author Sue Macy comes an illustrated biography of Mary Garber, one of the first female sports journalists in American history! Mary Garber was a pioneering sports journalist in a time where women were rarely a part of the newspaper business. Women weren't even allowed to sit in the press boxes at sporting events, so Mary was forced to sit with the coaches' wives. But that didn't stop her. In a time when African American sports were not routinely covered, Mary went to the games and wrote about them. Garber was a sportswriter for fifty-six years and was the first woman to receive the Associated Press Sports Editors' Red Smith Award, presented for major contributions in sports journalism. And now, every year the Association of Women in Sports Media presents the Mary Garber Pioneer Award in her honor to a role model for women in sports media.
Grades 2-4. As a child in the 1920s, Mary Garber played tackle football with the boys in her Winston-Salem neighborhood and learned to love the many sports she watched with her father. Later, determined to become a journalist, she reluctantly worked as a society reporter until, during WWII, she took over the sports desk, traditionally “a man’s job.” Jackie Robinson became a role model for the young woman, who endured her own discrimination at the ballparks: banned from press boxes and locker rooms, she was seated with the players’ wives. Garber earned a reputation for fairness, covering games at local black high schools, a departure from standard practice in the segregated South. She wrote her last article in 2002. In this well-researched picture-book biography, Macy introduces Garber as a person who followed her passion for sports, despite her mother’s disapproval, and did her job with purpose, integrity, and dignity. The narrative is swiftly paced, smoothly written, and filled with interesting details and quotes. Payne’s soft-focus mixed-media illustrations feature beautifully delineated period settings and a masterful use of composition for dramatic effect. Best of all, even in crowd scenes, people are portrayed with perception, individuality, and humanity—especially Garber. A lively, memorable biography for younger readers.