Many people have asked me over the years why I choose to write sports fiction for girls. The obvious answer is that I love sports and I have participated in athletics for over thirty years. But the main reason I write specifically for female athletes has a little more to do with literacy than the love of the game.
When I was in elementary school, I adored books. But by sixth and seventh grade, I fell out of love with reading. In fact, I became what educators refer to as a ‘reluctant reader’. This baffled both my mom and my teachers since as a child I was never without a novel or a notebook. And it’s not like I didn’t try. I cracked opened tons of novels including all the popular series. But most of the time I would read the first couple of chapters and then skim over the rest because I just couldn’t connect. For years, I searched for books that I could relate to. But over and over again I came up empty handed.
Later, while I was working as a middle school language arts teacher, I watched some of my sporty students fall out of love with reading just like I had a decade earlier. At that moment, I realized that my students and I became ‘reluctant to read’ because we couldn’t find books with main characters that we could relate to. We couldn’t find books about girls who played sports.
This realization led me on a journey to write the novels that my athletic students and I always wanted to read. Books about girls who play sports. Books about the lifestyle. Books about the drama on and off the field, court, and/or mound. Books about teammates. Books about boyfriends and crushes. The book that I always wanted to read. And here I am living my dream.
Thanks so much for having me!
Keri Mikulski is the author of Head Games (Penguin/Razorbill, 2011), Stealing Bases (Penguin/Razorbill, 2011), Making Waves (Penguin/Razorbill, 2012), and Fifteen Love (Penguin/Razorbill, 2012). A three-sport athlete in high school, Keri worked as a magazine columnist, personal trainer, lifeguard, registered nurse, middle school teacher, and high school coach. Currently, she teaches college writing courses at Rowan University and Stockton College while working toward a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. Keri splits her time between the New Jersey suburbs and the shore with her husband and daughter. Find out more at http://www.kerimikulski.com.
Thanks, Keri! I can’t wait to read Stealing Bases. I’m not much into sports, but I do love baseball!
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