‘Football School Season 3: Where Football Tackles the World,’ with guest post on girls and football by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton, illustrated by Spike Gerrell.

Book Boy and I are huge fans of this highly engaging series of books which look at the weird and wonderful side of football, so we thrilled to be sent the latest title to review and to be able to host a special blog post by the writers about girls and football.  AND we have three complete sets of the series so far to giveaway!

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Season 3 of Football School examines footballers’ feet, practises punditry pronunciation, get the long and short on the importance of height, and learn about world geography.  Packed full of the facts, quizzes, trivia and puns you would expect from a Football School book, this highly-illustrated hoot of a book is surely a must have for fans of the beautiful game (regardless of their age!)

At present, there are very few football books available which feature girls and women.  Quite why this is, when so many females play and support teams, I don’t know.  I asked Alex and Ben for their thoughts on women and football, particularly in light of their experiences as authors.  Here’s what they said:

Girls and Football – a special guest post from Alex and Ben.

We believe that reading is for everyone, and so is football! The days of football being watched and played just by boys is long gone – and about time too!  We reflect the growing influence of females in football in our series Football School, which explains the world through the prism of football. Throughout the series (four books so far and plenty more to come!) we have consistently written about women’s football. 

We’re not that old but we know that around 1920, women’s football was more popular than men’s football in England. One team, Dick, Kerr’s Ladies, would regularly sell out huge stadia like Goodison Park (whose capacity was over 50,000). The men who ran the FA sadly – and unfairly – banned women’s football in 1921. It’s an important part of history as it coincides with the suffragette movement and it’s something we explore in detail in our History lesson in Season Two.

We have been inspired by stories of parents and educators who have told us of the book’s positive effect among their children, and that includes girls. I have two daughters who love to play football and I love hearing them talk about their favourite players and goals to their friends. There are many more opportunities for girls to play football now and coverage of the women’s game is improving, with matches on TV and newspapers giving regular coverage to the women’s league.

At all the school talks we do, the girls are just as knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the game as the boys; at our first event, when we invited a few children up to invent their own goal celebrations we were blown away when one of the girls did six back-flips across the stage! That was impressive! Since then, we have done lots of school talks – many at all-girls schools – and found the same enthusiasm for the sport, even if we have yet to meet such another talented gymnast!

There are some inspiring role models in the women’s game right now – like Nadia Nadim, who escaped from a brutal regime growing up in Afghanistan to play for Denmark and Manchester City. We did an amazing interview with her which will appear in a Football School book out next spring. We also spoke to Brandi Chastain, the US player whose dramatic penalty won the 1999 World Cup final. She has promised to donate her brain to scientific research after her death. These female players are inspiring to our readers and to us! There is some amazing female talent in the game. Alex’s favourite female player is Marta, because she’s a Brazilian striker (of course!) but I think Lucy Bronze, the English defender who plays for French team Lyon (she won the Champions League last season) is awesome! Hopefully we will see both in action at the women’s World Cup next summer, which we are really excited about. We can’t promise that reading Football School will make children better players – but they might become smarter ones!

To WIN one of the fantastic sets of Football School books, comment on this post with the name of your favourite team or player by Wednesday 24th October (UK only)

Well I am looking forward to reading Nadia Nadim’s interview in the next instalment. Fingers-crossed there’ll be plenty more female footy books around by then!

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Walker Books for sending me this book to review and providing the sets to give away*

 

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