Themes feminism, gender equality, following one s dreamsUnlike the other nonfiction book I read for this class Jennifer Armstrong s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World , this book was a lot harder to wade through and get to the end It follows the development of the legislation that eventually became Title IX through several decades of the twentieth century, ending near the present day I felt like the topic of the book could have been really interesting, but Blumenthal didn t portray it in an interesting manner, for me The body of the narration itself focused mostly on the legislation and laws surrounding the issue a dry enough topic in the first place, but then there were no characters or people that I as a reader could really identify or connect with, so it felt like I was just reading about abstract laws that I didn t really understand or really care about In the margins and sidebars next to the narration, however, there were lots of side stories about individual female athletes and other stories of what was going on at the same time as all the legislation These side stories were fascinating, and for me, they were what made the book worth reading I think Blumenthal should have includedof those in the body of the narration so the reader could feel a connection to the Title IX story, instead of just relegating them to the sidebars All in all, a very informative, information packed book, but not one that I would just sit down and read I d recommend it to students needing to do research on a project, or maybe an ambitious reader with a vested interest in the topic Or, recommend that readers just go through and read all the side bars, since they re the most interesting part. My first reaction to the book was one of skepticism because the subject matter did not appeal to me, but I was pleasantly surprised I really enjoyed the read I liked the format and layout as much as the content The biographical inserts, cartoons, scorecards, and priceless photographs broke up and enhanced what could have been a very boring discussion of a topic I previously had little interest in A benefit of the format is providing different kinds of information to different readers Anyone can easily find statistical data, short biographies of female athletes, as well as the major players in the Title IX debate, and social commentary as represented by the cartoons, all interwoven with the story details.Aside from the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the content of this book, reading it has given me a new perspective on the possibilities of using YA non fiction in supporting curriculum, as well as proposing it for independent reading. Can Girls Play Softball Can Girls Be School Crossing Guards Can Girls Play Basketball Or Ice Hockey Or Soccer Can Girls Become Lawyers Or Doctors Or Engineers Of Course They Can Today But Just A Few Decades Ago, Opportunities For Girls Were Far Limited, Not Because They Weren T Capable Of Playing Or Didn T Want To Become Doctors Or Lawyers, But Because They Weren T Allowed To Then Quietly, In , Something Momentous Happened Congress Passed A Law Called Title IX, Forever Changing The Lives Of American Girls Hundreds Of Determined Lawmakers, Teachers, Parents, And Athletes Carefully Plotted To Ensure That The Law Was Passed, Protected, And Enforced Time And Time Again, They Were Pushed Back By Erce Opposition But As A Result Of Their Perseverance, Millions Of American Girls Can Now Play Sports Young Women Make Up Half Of The Nation S Medical And Law Students, And Star On The Best Basketball, Soccer, And Softball Teams In The World This Small Law Made A Huge Difference From The Sibert Honor Winning Author Of Six Days In October Comes This Powerful Tale Of Courage And Persistence, The Stories Of The People Who Believed That Girls Could Do Anything And Were Willing To Fight To Prove It A Junior Library Guild Selection Non Fiction, American LawThis is the story of Title IX, a controversial American piece of law that required boys and girls to have equal opportunities in the classroom and on the playing field of federally funded schools From its conception in 1972 and its full realizationthan twenty years later, Title IX did its best to survive despite the odds Many women and men dedicated their time and talents to its creation and fruition It has also accounts in it of people whose lives were altered by the presence or absence of Title IX It vastly improved the lives of Americans Although I normally do not indulge in non fiction, or anything to do with sports, I enjoyed this book immensely I appreciate the facts and story that it made me aware of Although I have never been athletic, and never regretted that, either, while reading this book, I began to wish that I had taken advantage of the opportunities that Title IX has so recently made available to young women in America. 11 June 2005 LET ME PLAY THE STORY OF TITLE IX, THE LAW THAT CHANGED THE FUTURE OF GIRLS IN AMERICA by Karen Blumenthal, Simon Schuster Atheneum, June 2005, ISBN 0 689 85957 0 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 Last weekend at 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 isfrequently 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 Bradwell passed the Illinois bar exam with high honors and turned in her application to practice law Though she easily qualified, she was turned down because she was a married woman She filed a lawsuit, but the Illinois Supreme Court turned her down too, saying that her sex was a sufficient reason for not granting this license In one of the nation s first sex discrimination cases she appealed to the U.S Supreme Court But America s top court had a different view than she did Man is, or should be, woman s protector and defender, the Court wrote in 1873 The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life It concluded The paramount destiny and mission of woman is to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother This is the law of the Creator It does not require looking back a hundred and something years to the life of Myra Bradwell who, we learn, persevered to become America s first female lawyer in order to recall when things were really unfair for women in America I grew up a youngster not all THAT long ago, in a world where women didn t have the same opportunities as men to go to college, didn t have the same opportunities as men to work in many fields, to attain the highest positions in business, government, or education, to get paid the same money for the same work, and sure as heck didn t have the same athletic opportunities as their male counterparts As recalled in LET ME PLAY by Karen Blumenthal, it was in 1964 when I turned nine, the same year the Beatles first came to America , that a Southern segregationist in Congress unintentionally played an important role in promoting women s rights when he proposed adding the word sex to the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , so that it would forbid job discrimination against women as well as blacks Congressman Howard W Smith of Virginia was figuring that adding such an amendment would cause the male dominated Congress to quickly sink the entire Act including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the historic Civil Rights legislation would create That Smith s plan backfired and the legislation passed meant for the first time in our history that it was illegal to pay a woman differently than a man employed in the same position as she State universities in Virginia had turned away 21,000 women in the early 1960s during the same time not a single man was turned away While the author takes us back to the 1800s and forward to the 1960s in setting the stage, the overwhelming focus of her fascinating and important book about women in America is on the fight for passage of and subsequent fights over enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as the far reaching changes in our country that resulted from that landmark legislation Blumenthal s well documented story of Title IX is interspersed with illuminating profiles and photos of notable twentieth century female athletes who got badly cheated by being born in the backward days of the earlier 1900s, along with great profiles of the federal legislative heroes responsible for Title IX passage, and a terrific assortment of strips from Doonsbury, Tank McNamara, Peanuts and other daily comics and political cartoons that shed light on the legislation and the issues behind it At the University of Georgia the budget for women s sports grew to 120,000 in 1978 from 1,000 in 1973, but the men received 2.5 million Among the differences The men on the golf team got all the golf balls they needed Women golfers got one for each competitive round they played If the words of the stupid white men on the Supreme Court in the 1870s seem like something from the Dark Ages, readers will discover that the ignorance of those words is easily matched by what Ronald Reagan and his minions did to try and destroy Title IX in the 1980s I can t imagine any woman who s aware of what Reagan and Bush One carried out in those years not gagging over the current President s recent words that We are blessed to live in a Nation, and a world, that have been shaped by the will, the leadership, and the vision of Ronald Reagan I d say there s a serious lack of vision when you ve got your head in the place that Reagan obviously had his when it came to women s rights But now the question is, is the battle finally won When we consider what portion of Congress and Senate seats are currently filled by the majority gender in America, when we look at what portion of the CEOs of Fortune 500 corporations are female, or when we look at the gender of the Presidents of the nation s most distinguished universities, we must conclude that there is a long way to go A report released by the AAUW back when this week s high school graduates were in kindergarten found that boys expectations were built up while girls were whittled back That s THIS generation, not mine or a previous generation And lest anyone suggest the glass half filled attitude, I d hasten to suggest that they consider trading places and then claim that things are moving along quickly enough Edith Green, a major figure in the story, was fond of the saying The trouble with every generation is that they haven t read the minutes of the last meeting Thanks to Karen Blumenthal, we now have an accurate set of minutes available from a pivotal episode in recent American history Richie Partington, MLISRichie s Picks Let Me Play Book ReviewThis book is about the amendment known as Title IX The story begins with the story of a women named Donna Varona, the Olympic swimmer As she watched her male coworkers receive swimming scholarships to college, she began gathering her friends to make a difference They thought of ways to get there rights and allow women to be able to do the things that men were allowed to do.The author is really good at describing this story The book then goes into the boycott section where Donna and a bunch of her friends fight for their freedom and gain the Title IX amendment They come up with different ways like protesting to get there way so that that Donna could get on a swim team Because the schools and the laws didn t allow that it took a lot of work Overall, this book was really good and I hope you guys will decide to read it. As posted on Outside of a Dog I am not a sporty adult, and I never played school sports unless marching band counts, which it totally should , but growing up, I tried to take advantage of sporting opportunities that were available to me I played elementary age soccer, the only girl on an all boy team When I got older, I was a short stop for my town s softball league As I got older, and school and band took precedence, sports were phased out of my life, though I remain a fan Every two years I go all out cheering for athletes competing in the Olympic Games, winter and summer, and last year it was especially sweet watching the London 2012 Games, having read Karen Blumenthal s Let Me Play The Story of Title IX The Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America, and realizing all that had to happen so that women like Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings could have their day in the sun.Let me get one thing out of the way right off the bat this is a book about politics, not sports Anyone going in to this book expecting to read inspiring stories of female athletes will be largely disappointed What you get instead is a historical portrait of the grueling political process that eventually made Title IX possible Blumenthal gives great attention to leaders in the fight for equal rights, including Edith Green and Patsy Mink, and does through some ink in the direction of leading athletes like Billie Jean King Hard facts are well sourced and though the text has the tendency to get dry at times, the tone remains light, held up by numerous archival photographs and editorial cartoons Let Me Play is an engaging work of non fiction, offering a view of the political victory that helped change not only women s involvement in sports, but education and the workplace as well.I recommend that you know what you re getting into before you get into it, because if politics bore you, this might not be the book for you But if you re interested in glimpsing a part of American history that laid the framework for the lives of millions of girls and women, this little book will do the trick. When I got this book, I didn t realize it was intended for young adult readers Typically, reading non fiction geared toward teenagers is hard on the senses because of the, well, teen speak that the authors at least think teenagers use This book had a touch of that, but it was not excessive, and it had a lot of information on Title IX Though Title IX was related to gender equality in all areas of education, it s best known for its requirements regarding sports programs at educational institutions.One highlight were a cute photo of three Congresswomen in the late 1960s posing outside the House pool yeah, as in swimming with a sign on the door saying Members Only The women had been shut out of the pool because Members Only apparently wasn t referring to members of Congress, but MALE members of Congress The female members were turned away because the male ones apparently didn t want to don swimsuits during their workouts ew , and therefore the pool was single sex Eventually, the three, who included Patsy Minsk of Hawaii and Edith Green of Oregon, were allowed to use the pool in the early morning hours, when the other Representatives didn t want it I wonder what hours Nancy Pelosi is required to use the pool Another important factoid that jumped out at me was that Billie Jean King had to work two jobs in college, even though she was one of the top ranked tennis players in the nation even then, because scholarships for athletes didn t exist BILLIE JEAN KING Compare that to Venus and Serena Williams, who, if they re wise with their money, will never have to work again once they retire from tennis OK, so the Williams sisters probably don t make near what male athletes in the big 3 make, but they are doing better financially than BJK was around the same time in her life Like any good women s historical account, the book serves to show both far we have to go AND how far we ve come A quick, easy and informative read. If you look at my shelf you will see I seldom give a book 5 stars Just Let Me Play appealed to me because I was a teenager when Title IX was written I was the only girl who worked out with the cross country team and track team my freshman year in high school in 1971 I can t say that I was on the team they just let me work out with them If I had been allowed to compete, I probably would have stuck with it, as it was, I was tolerated by some, and made others extremely uncomfortable This book chronicles the history of Title IX, the law that forced schools to offer athletic opportunities for females Title IX was part of an education bill that provided equal access for women in all aspects of the law Prior to its enactment, law schools and medical schools had female enrollments that were 10% of the number of males admitted I had no idea of the scope of the law, how hard people fought and continue to fight for it The book is a fascinating read and essential for anyone interested in women s history. Nonfiction SportsLet Me Play is about the circumstances and events of the creation of Title IX, the legislation that brought equality of the sexes into schools and, most prominently, into sports Unfortunately, Let Me Play suffers from textbook syndrome the story is choppy and the formatting is distracting.The biggest problem is that there s no engaging story Blumenthal jumps from character to character and rarely does a good job endearing us to those characters I understand that this is because there was no single character that moved through the entire process of creating Title IX, but the consequence of this choice is that the narrative frequently focuses on the lawmaking process and loses the human involvement The only parts of the book where I was engaged with the story were when Blumenthal shares an anecdote about a specific individual For instance, the story of Donna de Varona, the Olympic champion in the 60 s who couldn t get a scholarship to swim in college, really got my attention I was outraged on her behalf Similar stories are sprinkled throughout the text, but not frequently enough Once the brief flare up of emotion has worn off, there are pages and pages where characters are relegated to the sidebars The stakes are never as high as they should be This problem is exacerbated by the formatting of the book, which is very messy and distracting For instance, there are sidebars on nearly every page, drawing away attention from the main narrative and making the reading go very, very slowly I never know quite what to do with sidebars do I read them when I first turn the page Do I save them for last Do I read them when I finish a paragraph Whatever way I choose, I end up interrupting my reading and having to find my place again or else I just skip the side information entirely Again, I understand why Blumenthal chooses to put so much information to the side it s difficult to fit any of it into the main narrative A lot of it really is side information But it has the effect of turning Let Me Play into a textbook There are also far too many elements on each page For example, look at page nine there s the chapter title, an introductory quote, a cartoon, a caption, and the first paragraph of the narrative The reader s eye darts around and isn t entirely sure what order to read in The messy formatting detracts from the flow of the story so that the reader cannot be fully engaged or, sometimes, even fully sure what s going on The problems in Let Me Play exist for very justifiable reasons, but those reasons don t save the book from its overall lack of punch I felt, throughout, that I should be feeling very passionate and triumphant and indignant, but I rarely was none of the material caused a visceral reaction Let Me Play will become just another book that I stick on my shelf and let gather dust, because it s not worth picking up again.