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Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America Hardcover – July 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up -A fascinating look at the birth, growth, stagnation, and final emergence of Title IX. While acknowledging the controversy surrounding this law, the author is unwaveringly supportive of its passage and implementation. Interesting and easy-to-follow chapters highlight the process of creating, revising, fighting for, and ultimately passing this legislation that gave girls and women equal access to physical-education classes, gymnasiums, universities, and graduate schools. Human-interest stories personalize the issues, and photographs of congresswomen fighting for equal opportunities for girls, women demonstrating, and the ultimate victory-a woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated-show how challenging, yet ultimately rewarding, the battle has been. Charts depict amazing statistics about the increase in athletic participation by females from 1970 to 2001. Cartoons show the humorous but painfully true attitudes of our culture toward women as they have strived to achieve equality in this country. The book closes with a "Then and Now" section highlighting the changes Title IX has brought about. Lynn M. Messina's Sports in America (H. W. Wilson, 2001) and Victoria Sherrow's Encyclopedia of Women and Sports (ABC-CLIO, 1996) both offer bits of information, but nothing out there comes close to Blumenthal's portrait of the emergence of women athletes in our society.-Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. As in Six Days in October (2002), a compelling overview of the 1929 stock market crash and a financial primer, Wall Street Journal editor Blumenthal uses specific facts and fascinating personal stories to give readers a wide view of history. Here, the author looks at American women's evolving rights by focusing on the history and future of Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in U.S. education. Profiles of groundbreaking female athletes and legislators deftly alternate with highlights of the women's movement, from the early twentieth century through today. The dull paper stock diminishes the many black-and-white photos, but the images are still gripping, and relevant political cartoons and fact boxes add further interest. Few books cover the last few decades of American women's history with such clarity and detail, and this comprehensive title draws attention to the hard-won battles, the struggles that remain, and the chilling possibility that rights, if not fiercely protected, can easily be lost. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1140L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689859570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689859571
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L. Blumenthal on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Karen Blumenthal'a latest young-readers' book, LET ME PLAY is a behind-the-scenes look at how Title IX changed the cultural landscape for American women.

Just because this book is intended for a younger audience does not make it simplistic reading. I consider myself pretty informed about political and social topics, yet I had little idea that Title IX does not just cover equality in sporting opportunities. Title IX, the brainchild of late Congresswoman Edith Green, actually mandates that schools may not limit the educational opportunities of students based on gender--and that includes admissions policies and access to classes. Title IX is the reason that half of all law students and medical students today are women.

What a huge change from the early 1960s, the era in which Blumenthal opens the book with a description of swimmer Donna De Verona. The 13-year-old swimmer, long denied opportunities to participate in other sports she loved, finally decided to become a swimmer. Not only did she excel, but she became the most decorated high school swimmer in the United States. She won two Olympic gold medals and the adoration of the press. Then she graduated, and...nothing. No scholarships, no endorsements, no interest. Here was an 18-year-old brimming with talent and she hit a dead end because there simply were no rewards for women athletes.

At the time De Verona was facing her bleak future, women all over the country were confounded by colleges that had strict admissions quotas. Many schools refused to enroll women in science and math classes. And legislators could get away with citing the need for "delicate" females to leave educational spaces open for men, who would be the "breadwinners."

Things changed, and they changed quickly.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Eccleston on October 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I consider myself quite well informed about current women's issues, but had always wondered what the impetus was behind Title IX. I had no idea that the law we hear about that applies to women's equal access to sports, was aimed at equal access to college admissions and financial assistance. I cried several time while reading this book; I was mad at the earlier treatment of women, I was saddened by the personal stories of disappointment suffered by the women who were shut out of playing games they loved only because they were girls. I was also proud of the triumphs of the recent past, but mostly I was moved to buy another copy and pass it around to as many women as I can. ANY WOMAN WHO HAS PLAYED SPORTS OR GONE TO COLLEGE IN THE LAST 30 YEARS, OWES IT TO THEMSELVES TO READ, APPRECIATE, AND SHARE THIS BOOK WITH THE NEXT GENERATION OF GIRLS. Laurie in Utah
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on June 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Female admissions to colleges and graduate programs picked up speed, driven by female ambition, the law, and a growing acceptance that it was simply wrong to reject someone just for being a girl. Between 1971 and 1976 the number of women attending college jumped 40 percent. By the fall of 1976 one in every four law students was a woman, up from fewer than one in ten in 1971; likewise, a quarter of first-year medical students were female, up from about one in seven just five years before."

Recently at this year's Book Expo in New York City, I had the pleasure of meeting and conversing with Patricia Macias. At publishing conventions, Patricia is known as the wife of author Ben Saenz. But back home in El Paso, she is more frequently referred to as "Your Honor."

As I wandered the exhibition halls at Book Expo, I frequently got the chance to catch up with old friends in the publishing industry. Many of the women I've known for years who are employed by the large publishing houses now have titles like "President & Publisher" or "Vice President and Associate Publisher." They not only have the positions; they have the power that accompanies those titles.

I also had the opportunity at Book Expo to chat briefly with my favorite member of the United States Senate. I feel so fortunate to be represented by Barbara Boxer who, like me, grew up in New York and moved westward. When we first elected Barbara to the US Senate in 1992, having her join Diane Feinstein there in representing California, it was the first time in US history that two women Senators were representing the same state at the same time.

Myra Bradwell would have though that it was long past time.

"In 1869, Mrs.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By fruitloop VINE VOICE on January 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm so glad to see a history for today's young women about what it was like before Title 9 - which, while it wasn't that long ago, seems unreal to my daughter's generation. I remember The Days Before, when the boys got the gym and were formed into athletic teams while the girls got WHAT PASSED for PE - calisthenics in the cafeteria! (and instructional time was used to move the tables and chairs aside)

In a day when feminism is facing a hostile backlash, Ms. Blumenthal's book is a valuable reminder that "what used to be" wasn't as rosy as some claim, a reminder of the gains made in sports by talented girls, and of what we DON'T want to return to! Five stars!
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