- Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber
- Sally Ride: Life on a Mission
- Roller Derby Rivals
- Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women's Hoops on the Map
- Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
- Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly
- Freeze Frame: A Photographic History of the Winter Olympics
- Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics
- Bull's-Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley
- Girls Got Game: Sports Stories & Poems
- Play Like a Girl: A Celebration of Women In Sports
- Barbie: Shooting Hoops
- Winning Ways: A Photohistory of American Women in Sports
- A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
Roller Derby Rivals
Joining two legendary skaters in a no-holds-barred bout as Roller Derby takes New York by storm.
Illustrated by Matt Collins • Published by Holiday House, 2014 • 32 pages • Ages 6 to 10
A Junior Library Guild Selection
In December 1948, New Yorkers fell head over heels in love with Roller Derby. They clamored for tickets and caused near riots at the box office of the 69th Regiment Armory, the site of the barnstorming Derby’s 17-day visit to the city. Many of the fans who were turned away from the sold-out bouts were determined to catch the action on television, the miracle machine that was just beginning to find its footing in New York homes.
Television made instant celebrities of the Derby’s daredevils skaters, and none became more famous than rivals Gerry Murray and Midge “Toughie” Brasuhn. As someone who grew up watching Roller Derby in the 1960s, I was intrigued when I read about these earlier stars. The very idea of a woman nicknamed “Toughie” seemed dramatically out of place in post-World War II America, where females were more likely to be portrayed as soft and maternal than brassy and strong. I wanted to find out more.
Roller Derby Rivals is the result of my research. The book takes an up-close-and-personal look at one bout during the Derby’s historic visit to New York, with Toughie and Gerry leading the way. Thanks to the brilliant illustrations by Matt Collins, the action is as colorful and exciting as it was back in the day.
Roller Derby is often overlooked in the annals of women’s sports history, perhaps because it’s seen more as entertainment than competition. But despite the sometimes choreographed collisions, the skaters were athletes worthy of admiration. Of course, the Derby is not just a thing of the past. Today there are approximately 1,515 amateur Roller Derby leagues worldwide, with one or more in every state of the union and the District of Columbia. (Check out this complete list.) It’s a fitting legacy for those tough ladies and men of yesteryear.
What the Critics Said
“As they did in Basketball Belles (2011), Macy and Collins offer a superb social study through a sports lens….Macy seamlessly packs in the details that allow youngsters to understand the cultural revolution they are witnessing, including the changing role of women, the birth of TV sports programming, and the use of sports marketing….Positively riveting.” —Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2014
“Meticulously researched, funny, and fast, Macy and Collins (who perfected their partnership in their previous title Basketball Belles) give us a highly original sports book like no other. A slam bang offering (with the emphasis on the ‘slam’).” —Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse 8 Production, June 7, 2014