Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb And The Boston Marathon (Annette Bay Pimentel)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb And The Boston Marathon, written by Annette Bay Pimentel and illustrated by Micha Archer, the inspiring story of the first woman to compete in the famous race.

Bobbi loves to run. The second her school bell rings, she’s off. Running is when she feels happy and free, and brings her joy like nothing else. Every year, the famous Boston Marathon passes by her town, and Bobbi watches the runners as they pass, itching to join. When she is old enough, she spends a year training for the Marathon, traveling across the country and running on all kinds of terrain. And when it comes time to sign up for the 1966 Boston Marathon, Bobbi sends in her application, and is cruelly rejected. Women are not “physiologically able” to run 26.2 miles, her rejection letter states, “and it’s against the rules besides.” Bobbi is crushed, but she makes a decision: she will race, whether they will have her or not. When the day comes, she sneaks into the race as it starts, and soon learns that to change the rules, sometimes you have to break them.

An amazing story, beautifully told. Bobbi’s story is certainly inspirational, and the text does a great job of laying out the plot in an exciting yet informative way. It draws the reader into Bobbi’s world, from her inability to find running shoes for women, her drive to finish the race for her female spectators, even a great scene where the male runners show her support and solidarity when they realize she is female (a great message for young male readers in a decidedly girl-power book). The art is also an immersion, using paint and collage to create spreads filled with depth and passion, so visceral that the reader can feel the wind in their hair. The length is fine for even smaller bookworms, and JJ loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!