March/April 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“This graphic novel is based on the true story of Judi Warren, and the 1976 Warsaw High School inaugural girls’ basketball team. Perfect for young athletes, this book will inspire and show how far we have come since Title IX was passed.”
— Kelli McDonald, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO
As seen on the Today show
A work of fiction inspired by a true story, Matt Tavares’s debut graphic novel dramatizes the historic struggle for gender equality in high school sports.
It is 1975 in Indiana, and the Wilkins Regional High School girls’ basketball team is in their rookie season. Despite being undefeated, they practice at night in the elementary school and play to empty bleachers. Unlike the boys’ team, the Lady Bears have no buses to deliver them to away games and no uniforms, much less a laundry service. They make their own uniforms out of T-shirts and electrical tape. And with help from a committed female coach, they push through to improbable victory after improbable victory. Illustrated in full color, this story about the ongoing battle of women striving for equality in sports rings with honesty, bravery, and heart.
About the Author
Matt Tavares is the author-illustrator of the New York Times best-selling picture book Dasher, as well as Red and Lulu and several sports biographies, including Becoming Babe Ruth and Growing Up Pedro. He is also the illustrator of Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Jeff Gottesfeld, The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Over the River and Through the Wood, among many other picture books. Matt Tavares lives in Maine.
I really, really love Hoops! It’s such a great story, and I’m glad the world will get to know Judi and her teammates.
—Victoria Jamieson, New York Times best-selling creator of When Stars Are Scattered and Roller Girl
Poignant and fresh. Sure to have readers of all ages wanting to shoot hoops!
—Jennifer L. Holm, cocreator of the New York Times best-selling Sunny and Babymouse series
An inspiring and heartwarming story about a small-town high school basketball team that will be adored by readers of all ages.
—Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat
A fast-break story of stout hearts, raw talent, and the will to stand up for what’s right. Hip-hoop-hooray for Hoops!
—Scott Magoon, New York Times best-selling illustrator
Holy smokes—my mind was blown. . . . Hoops is a must-read.
—Colby Sharp, cofounder of Nerdy Book Club
Tavares' debut graphic novel is a historical fiction inspired by true events, following a girls' highschool basketball team in Wilkins, Indiana, as they defy expectations on their way to a state championship. . . . The story is delivered with a wonderfully light touch, mirrored by Tavares' soft, inviting illustrations. . . Although it's technically set in high school, grade-school readers will have no problem connecting to the friendship drama or rooting for Judi, her dream, and her epic ’70s bowl cut. Highly recommended.
Basing his debut graphic novel on a true story, Tavares follows a small group of enthusiasts and their resourceful art teacher who moonlights as the girls’ basketball coach, from tryouts that are shuffled off to the elementary school’s gym through dogged practices and hard-fought games all the way to the 1976 state championship. . . A winning tale, all the more exhilarating for its links to history.
Set against snowy, ambient Midwestern backgrounds peopled by friendly faced characters portrayed with varying skin tones, Tavares (Dasher) gently relays lessons about equality and activism alongside themes of friendship and fitting in, offering an approachable, motivational entry point into Title IX’s effect on sports history.
This graphic interpretation of Tavares’s research, including interviews with team members, makes for an outstanding historical fiction depiction of this very real struggle. These obstacles could feel like problems of the past if it were not for Tavares’s well-constructed dialogue, attention to character dimension, and well-paced storytelling. Tavares draws 1970’s denim bellbottoms, feathered hair, and rotary phones with finesse. . . . This graphic novel depicts Title IX history in a fun and relatable way, giving modern readers a lot to recognize from their current teen experiences.
—School Library Journal
This is a timely exploration of the pre–Title IX United States; and a cinematic, well-paced, feel-good sports story. . . The classic championship-game climax is rousing, while the appended author’s note brings more nuance to the ongoing fight against sexism and discrimination and tells more about the history-making Warsaw High School team, Judi Warren, and Title IX.
—The Horn Book
A work of fiction inspired by a true story about the 1976 Warsaw High School girls’ basketball team, this graphic novel has an easy-to-follow accessibility, with captions highlighting the impact of gender inequality. . . Consistent paneling effectively expresses the girls’ growing influence in their community game after game. Sports fans will adore the wholesome and empowering friendships and learn how to shoot for a historic victory to make a difference in today’s high school sports.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Based on a true story, this engaging graphic novel follows the eight girls of the Wilkins Regional High School girls basketball team in 1975 during their rookie season. . . . full of heart and will appeal to reluctant readers, basketball fans, and of course your realistic fiction graphic novel readers.
—School Library Connection
Author-illustrator Matt Tavares offers an eye-opening look back at the early years of Title IX and the fight for equity in girls' sports in this excellent graphic novel based on the true story of Judi Warren and the 1976 Warsaw (Indiana) High School girls' basketball team that won the state's first girls' championship. . . . The girls' fight to win respect and the exciting action on the court are brought to life in gorgeous color panels.
—The Buffalo News
This middle grade graphic novel is an engaging and essential portrayal of the early fight for gender equality in sports, which still hasn’t been reached. . . . The ’70s-style illustrations are vibrant and colorful and the story inspiring and fascinating.
Illustrating the ongoing battle of women striving for equality in sports, this story is filled with honesty, bravery, and heart. It would make a great addition for any Women’s History collection.
—Good Comics for Kids