Trailblazer: Lily Parr, the Unstoppable Star of Women's Soccer

by Elizabeth Dale (Author) Carolina Coroa (Illustrator)

Trailblazer: Lily Parr, the Unstoppable Star of Women's Soccer
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
With one of the most powerful kicks in soccer, young Lily Parr is becoming a soccer star. That is until in 1921, when the Football Association in England bans women's soccer--a decision that will affect future generations! Will Lily and her team be able to overcome this hurdle, or will they have to give up doing what they love? Trailblazer is based on the life of Lily Parr, one of the most famous female soccer players of all time. Parr eventually came to the US and even played against men's teams. Parr together with her teammates battled adversity to keep women's soccer alive.

Publishers Weekly

Rah-rah spirit permeates Dale and Coroa's account of the life of British soccer player Lily Parr (1905-1978). Parr's career, which began on factory teams, lasted 31 years, even though the English Football Association banned women from competing on its properties in 1921--a year after she and her teammates played before a crowd of 53,000. Though Dale notes the obstacles Parr and her teammates faced, she presents scant context to help readers unfamiliar with the history of soccer and of sexism contextualize Parr's achievements, instead emphasizing her talent ("No one in England, not even a man, had a more powerful shot"). Coroa's slick digital illustrations feature wide-eyed women in striped jerseys active on the pitch. Colorful circles dot the spreads, presenting facts: "Lily was one of the greatest goal-scorers in history." Ages 7-8. (Aug.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3--Lily Parr, a white Englishwoman, loved football (called soccer in the United States) so much that she became a professional star, playing on women's teams in England in the first half of the 20th century. At 14, she started playing for a women's team called St. Helens Ladies. Alfred, the manager of another team, was so impressed by Parr's skills that he offered her a job in his factory that had its own women's team. Though Parr's team attracted huge crowds, the English Football Association banned women's teams from professional fields in 1921 because "the game of football is quite unsuitable for women." Parr and her teammates carried on; she played the sport for 31 years. In 2019, Parr's legacy was commemorated with a statue in the National Football Museum in Manchester, England. Dale's brief biography uses speech and fact bubbles throughout the narrative. Coroa's cartoonlike illustrations are digitally rendered; most cover a full spread. Characters are drawn as rosy-cheeked players, and their fans are dressed in period costume. The illustrations featuring Parr's time show players and fans as predominantly white; the present-day illustrations depict a more racially diverse community. Further facts about Parr and football bounce across the endpapers. VERDICT Aimed at very young fans, this English import stresses the obstacles Parr faced as a female player; it would pair well with stories of female baseball players, such as Marissa Moss's Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen. A useful addition to larger collections.--Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Elizabeth Dale
Elizabeth Dale wrote fiction for magazines before becoming a full-time author of children's books. Her work has won multiple awards, including in the picture book category in the 2019 Northern Lights Book Awards for Save the Day for Ada May! She was also a runner-up in the 2015 Dundee Picture Book Award.

Patrick Corrigan worked as an art director at a design studio before becoming an illustrator of educational and picture books for children. He illustrated Save the Day for Ada May!, which won the picture book category in the 2019 Northern Lights Book Awards.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 20, 2020

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!