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Dust Bowl Girls
Cover of Dust Bowl Girls
Dust Bowl Girls
The Inspiring Story of the Team that Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory

"Thrilling, cinematic . . . I loved every minute I spent with the bold, daring women of the Cardinals basketball team . . . The stuff of American legend" (Karen Abbott, New York Times–bestselling author).
The Boys in the Boat meets A League of Their Own in this true story of a Depression-era championship women's team.
During the drought and financial crisis of the 1930s, Oklahoma basketball coach Sam Babb traveled from farm to farm recruiting talented, hardworking young women and offering them a chance at a better life: a free college education in exchange for playing on his basketball team, the Cardinals. And as Babb coached the Cardinals, something extraordinary happened. These remarkable athletes found a passion for the game and a heartfelt loyalty to one another and their coach—and they began to win.
Combining exhilarating sports writing and exceptional storytelling, Dust Bowl Girls takes readers on the Cardinals' intense, improbable journey all the way to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson. Lydia Reeder captures a moment in history when female athletes faced intense scrutiny from influential figures in politics, education, and medicine who denounced women's sports as unhealthy and unladylike. At a time when a struggling nation was hungry for inspiration, this unlikely group of trailblazers achieved much more than a championship season.
"A compelling, heartwarming story of a group of college students determined to accomplish the impossible. This is a book you can't put down." —The Denver Post
"[A] great sports story about an underdog whose triumphs inspired a community that badly needed a lift in the midst of hard economic times. I can't wait for the movie." —The Oklahoman

"Thrilling, cinematic . . . I loved every minute I spent with the bold, daring women of the Cardinals basketball team . . . The stuff of American legend" (Karen Abbott, New York Times–bestselling author).
The Boys in the Boat meets A League of Their Own in this true story of a Depression-era championship women's team.
During the drought and financial crisis of the 1930s, Oklahoma basketball coach Sam Babb traveled from farm to farm recruiting talented, hardworking young women and offering them a chance at a better life: a free college education in exchange for playing on his basketball team, the Cardinals. And as Babb coached the Cardinals, something extraordinary happened. These remarkable athletes found a passion for the game and a heartfelt loyalty to one another and their coach—and they began to win.
Combining exhilarating sports writing and exceptional storytelling, Dust Bowl Girls takes readers on the Cardinals' intense, improbable journey all the way to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson. Lydia Reeder captures a moment in history when female athletes faced intense scrutiny from influential figures in politics, education, and medicine who denounced women's sports as unhealthy and unladylike. At a time when a struggling nation was hungry for inspiration, this unlikely group of trailblazers achieved much more than a championship season.
"A compelling, heartwarming story of a group of college students determined to accomplish the impossible. This is a book you can't put down." —The Denver Post
"[A] great sports story about an underdog whose triumphs inspired a community that badly needed a lift in the midst of hard economic times. I can't wait for the movie." —The Oklahoman

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    7.8
  • Lexile:
    1120
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    6 - 9

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Lydia Ellen Reeder is the grandniece of Sam Babb, the extraordinary basketball coach featured in Dust Bowl Girls. She spent over two years conducting research for the book and also wrote and narrated a short film about the Cardinal basketball team, currently on view at the Oklahoma Historical Society website: youtu.be/fokmbnWmp50. As a former associate editor at Whole Life Times in Los Angeles and Delicious Magazine in Boulder, Colorado, Reeder has worked for many years as a copywriter and editor on behalf of corporate and organizational clients and most recently developed e-learning for a national nursing association. She lives in Denver with her husband and enjoys hiking in the mountains of Colorado. Dust Bowl Girls is her first book.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 3, 2017
    In her comfortable, slightly husky voice, actor Wolf offers a warm, earnest narration of this inspiring story about a championship women’s basketball team during the Great Depression. The coach of a tiny Oklahoma Presbyterian College sought out poor farm girls who showed athletic prowess in high school and offered them a free college education to play on his basketball team, the Cardinals. With a caring coach, fine teamwork, and high spirit, the young women overcome all the social strictures against female athletes and became the 1932 American Athletic Union national tournament champions. Wolf’s expressive reading will keep listeners invested in this lost piece of Depression-era history. The audiobook will appeal to both adult and YA listeners. An Algonquin hardcover.

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2016

    Now playing its 20th season, the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) is among America's most successful women's professional sports leagues. Yet, the struggling basketball league has only turned a profit in recent years, still working hard to put fans in the stands. In this book first-time author Reeder introduces readers to Sam Babb, a remarkable man who saw past the Depression-era thinking that sports were less "ladylike" and even considered physically inappropriate for women. Babb scoured the Oklahoma farmlands looking for young women who would accept his offer of a college education; in return, he molded them into a team that exceeded all expectations. Equal parts social history and sports legend come to life, Reeder's meticulous research and play-by-play game accounts are a fitting tribute to Coach Babb and the trailblazing athletes he inspired. Of special interest for students of women's studies and a strong contender for a film adaptation. VERDICT With high appeal to sports fans and historians, this hidden gem of a story deserves a place in all public library collections.--Janet Davis, Darien P.L., CT

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 29, 2016
    Reeder, a former editor at Whole Life Times, tells the inspiring story of Oklahoma Presbyterian College basketball coach Sam Babb’s efforts to create and maintain a championship women’s team, the Cardinals, amidst the hardships of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Discussing both Babb’s coaching philosophy and the players’ individual stories, Reeder explores the charm and excitement that the small team of unknowns brought to their hometown of Durant. In equal parts personal homage to Babb (the author’s great-uncle) and surprising underdog story, Reeder recounts the Cardinals’ journey from humble beginnings to becoming the 1932 American Athletic Union national tournament champions. They demonstrated the perseverance necessary to overcome the political and financial difficulties facing women in sports. The descriptions of the political strife and characterizations seem forced and caricatured at times, but when the story turns to basketball season, Reeder relaxes into comfortable and engaging storytelling.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2017
    In the early 1930s, Sam Babb recruited farm girls to play for his basketball team at Oklahoma Presbyterian College in Durant. At the time, most women's teams were sponsored by the companies for whom the players worked. Some, including Lou Henry Hoover, wife of President Herbert Hoover, thought that competitive sports were not an appropriate activity for young women. But Coach Babb knew that basketball helped participants develop critical thinking and good judgment. He also believed that a winning team could bring a whole community together and raise spirits that had been battered by the Great Depression. Reeder employs player interviews and scrapbooks to tell the true story of the Cardinals, who in 1932 became the first women's collegiate team to win the American Athletic Union's National Basketball Tournament. Her personable narrative is as much about the daily lives of the players as it is about the sport of basketball, and young adults will love details that bring the time and place to life (for example, because many of the players came from farms with no indoor plumbing or electricity, the hot water in their college dorm seemed extravagant). VERDICT Useful for curriculum support, this compelling offering makes for good recreational reading, too. Hand it to fans of A League of Their Own or to anyone who relishes a good sports underdog tale.-Hope Baugh, Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, IN

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2016
    A former magazine editor tells the story of how, at the height of the Great Depression, her great-uncle trained a group of young women from rural Oklahoma to become college basketball stars.The son of a stern preacher father, Missourian Sam Babb survived a leg amputation in his teenage years to become a successful Oklahoma school superintendent. His career took an unexpected turn in the early 1920s when he decided to become a part-time high school girls basketball coach. By 1929, he had taken a full-time coaching position at Oklahoma Presbyterian College. On a recruiting trip to bring new talent to OPC, Babb discovered a poor farm girl named Doll Harris who, during the 1930-1931 season, would become his "star shot maker" and an All-American player. The team he built that year was good enough to win a sportsmanship trophy at the Amateur Athletic Union national tournament, but Babb believed they could do better. The following year, he recruited other talented girls with promises of scholarships and worked to create a national championship-winning team. With barely enough funding to keep the team going, Babb took his players on a barnstorming tour of the South to raise money. His OPC Cardinals won every game, including one against the reigning champions, the Dallas Golden Cyclones. In the meantime, Harris found herself in direct competition with sports phenomenon Babe Didrikson, the golden girl who knew how to charm fans and "leverage publicity" for her own benefit. As she tells the amazing story of Babb and his underdog women's basketball team, Reeder also reveals the challenges facing serious female athletes during the 1920s and '30s, including the perceived risk of "destroying their feminine image by invading a man's world." Sports fans and general readers alike are sure to find the story both worthwhile and entertaining. A heartwarmingly inspirational tale.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2016
    One of the more unlikely national champions in U.S. sports history was the 1932 women's basketball team from tiny, financially strapped Oklahoma Presbyterian College. Coach Sam Babb, who, probably not coincidentally, taught Psychology 101 at the school, masterfully recruited talent, solicited funding for the program, created a culture of unselfish team play, devised unorthodox but effective basketball drills, and instilled in his players the self-assurance they would need in facing public opinion that largely considered basketball unladylike. And, more urgently, in facing (three times that season) the reigning national champion Dallas Golden Cyclones, led by legendary sportswoman Babe Didrikson. Author Reeder, Babb's grandniece, had access to such primary materials as player diaries, which reveal the players' relationships to one another and their coach, and to a dust-bowl era and region marked by serious hardship.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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Dust Bowl Girls
Dust Bowl Girls
The Inspiring Story of the Team that Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory
Lydia Reeder
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