Title: A Girl Named Dan
Author: Dandi Daley Mackall
Illustrator: Renée Graef
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 3.5
Concepts: human resources, discrimination, institutions
Review: Dandi, an athletic and competitive girl growing up during the early 1960s in Hamilton, Missouri, is a talented baseball player and a devoted fan. She knows all the baseball jargon and wants nothing more than to play ball with the boys during recess and after school. But at a time when the U.S. legal structure and social norms still did not give girls and women equal opportunities in sports, Dandi has little recourse when the boys decide they don’t want her to join them in the ball field.
Determined to stay in the game, Dandi uses her other strong skill in writing to enter an essay contest held by the Kansas City A’s to recruit batboys. In an attempt to bypass the “for boys only” requirement, she signs her submission with her nickname Dan. Dandi’s experience teachers her that it takes more than a simple trick to be a winner and feel like a winner in any competition.
Although A Girl Named Dan focuses on baseball, parents and teachers can use this interesting book to teach children a powerful set of lessons about discrimination and how legal reforms have helped to change discriminatory practices. In this case, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits unequal treatment by sex in all education-related activities that receive federal financial assistance. The book provides a valuable opportunity to talk with children about the barriers that girls used to face within and outside of school, and the extent to which those barriers have changed.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children