Little People, Big Dreams: Billie Jean King; Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illustrated by Miranda Sofroniou
I love sports people who have a wider impact on their chosen sport than simply being incredible on the court or on the field of play, and Billie Jean King is definitely one of those individuals who served up success both on and off the court.
Billie Jean King was part of a sport-loving family and she and her brother were keen players of any sport that involved a ball. As a youngster she excelled at baseball and would no doubt have gone on to be one of the world’s best player but there was a problem. There was not a team for women to join and so Billie Jean found herself searching for another sport. The first time she held a tennis racket everything felt right and it was a match made in heaven. And it wasn’t long until the sounds of ‘Game, Set, Match, Miss. King’ would be regularly heard on courts around the world.
A champion on the court, she would also become a champion off the court. She was a pioneer for equality in tennis and campaigned for equal tournament earnings for men and women and for college scholarships to be offered to talented female tennis players. Along with fellow players she founded the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and worked tirelessly to ensure that women were treated fairly.
Delightfully illustrated with bright and bold artwork and with a story told in short and simple sentences, this is an inspirational read for any young person who aspires to become a sporting sensation. At the back of the the book there is a short overview of her life which includes key facts and dates and a historical timeline featuring photographs.
A wonderful tennis player and an important pioneer. Along with the many tennis titles she won, perhaps her biggest win was arguably off the court where she would change the tennis scene for young girls and women.
Recommended for 5+.