Trailblazer is a non-fiction picture book which depicts the life of Lily Parr. She is one of the most famous female football players of ALL TIME who, along with her team members, kept working to keep women’s football going after the Football Association banned it in 1921.
This book is PACKED with facts about women’s football! I don’t know about you but I didn’t even consider the fact women have been playing it since the 1900s – I (very wrongly!) just assumed it was in more recent years that this was a sport which had picked up traction. I think it’s really important that girls see themselves in different characters – be they real or not – and female footballers are relevant and important. Also, worth showing this to the boys too, as they can see football isn’t just a sport for them (a constant conversation in my classroom as I played a lot of football as a child!).
Lily is a figure from history that most of us won’t have heard of before. She is independent, knows her own mind and goes against the grain of the society she lives in. At that time, women were seen very differently, so it explains in a child-friendly way what views women had to fight against. It is also a particularly relevant book in a time when children are curious to see themselves reflected in literature; it’s important we show them a range of texts which do this and I think ‘Trailblazer’ is perfect to do so. This book would also link well with World War 1, Women’s Rights and sport topics you might look at in school.
The illustrations beautifully show Lily and her teammates playing football – including some impressive skills – and it has images which help give further background to the story too. It creates a really lovely book for children to read and learn from!