Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kickstart This!

What does "family" mean to you?

To me, I think of both the wonderful people I've been fortunate to be both biologically and legally related to, and the amazing people I've gathered around me to build my "urban family." Together with these people, I've been able to build a safe, supportive, loving buffer around me, so that whenever we are all together, it just feels like "home."

I know I am truly blessed in that I have both kinds of an awesome family. I have dear friends for whom their only family that deserves the title is the collection of friends they've made as adults. I also have dear friends for whom growing up in unusual families was a challenge until they realized that the only thing that really mattered was the bonds of love.

I know it might be some heavy thinking for what is supposed to be a blog post about a child's book, but this is what I think about when I look at the artwork and read the blurbs for Victoria Jr. 
Being the only human in a world of creatures and magical things might seem overwhelming to most, but not Victoria. She embraces her uniqueness and strives to create, like her father and her grandfather.

I know I say this for pretty much every project I share here, and at the risk of wearing it out, I'm going to say it again: I just adore this project.
Victoria Jr. is a collection of stories about the only human girl living in a world of creatures that were created by Frankenstein's Monster. The monster took her in and named her after Victor, his creator. She was adopted into the Monster's family. It's a place for her to feel safe and be herself. The book is about her embracing her misfit nature in a loving adoptive home.
And I love the story behind this project.
The Idea was inspired by a local organization called Sally's House. They take in kids who've been removed from their homes. We love what they do in providing a safe haven for children who go through trauma to have safety and protection. With budget cuts and increasing demand Sally's house needs our support, so we're using the success of Victoria Jr. to host a fundraising event later this year as well. 

In fact, I love this project so much I hunted down the creator of this project, Manny Trembley, and asked him a zillion questions. And he answered them!

You just reached your THIRD stretch goal! How awesome is that? You've still got a couple of weeks, and it doesn't look like the number of backers is showing signs of slowing down. What's the next goal going to be?

I'm honestly a little shocked we hit $10,500 in 2 weeks. It's pretty intense. It's ultimately why I do Kickstarters. Putting your art/story in the hands of fans (or hopeful fans) it makes everything more personal. I love that.

My first Kickstarter, Martin Monsterman did a little over 12k and had 279 backers. Victoria Jr. is looking to demolish both of those. I'm nervous-excited.

As I type this I am looking at having 2 branches of further stretch goals. The first is backer numbers. I'd love to see 500 backers before this is over. My wife Lisa said she wants to see double what it is. 600-700. Yikes. If we hit 500 backers we will give buttons, magnets, bookmarks as a thank you to most of the pledge levels. We haven't ironed that out yet.

The second is probably going to be a coloring book at $13-14,000, with 16-24 pages of Victoria, family and monsters. This will probably be a combination of existing book art and other stuff I make. I feel the need to keep making art before work, over lunch and late at night. If we hit that then I have a small art book I want to print that is called Monster Book of Hugs. It's a collection of Victoria hugging and hanging out with all kinds of monsters/creatures. It's all still being formed. So don't hold me to this until you see it on the Kickstarter.

I have seen the illustrations of Victoria hugging different monsters on your Facebook page, and let me tell you, I'd want one of those for myself. So cute.

I really like how Victoria is adopted and finds acceptance and love in a non-traditional family. I think it's important for kids to be able to see their own unique family structures represented in the stories they read. Can you tell me a little about your inspiration for creating these characters and this series of stories?

I was raised in a family where I didn't realize the man I called "Dad" was not my biological father. I learned that in 6th grade. I took my dad's last name at that point and was legally adopted as his son. Stories about fathers and their children is something that is a big deal for me. And now that I am a dad (a 4.5 year old and 3 year old, both boys) I feel an even stronger pull to write and express how I feel about fatherhood.

I also love to pieces Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's a personal favorite. I'm a fan of the created/creator discussion at play in that book and it has fueled a plethora of stories in that world of monsters, parents and children. I came up with Victoria almost accidentally. I named her that because The Monster named her after Victor Frankenstein. At the time he named her Junior because he didn't know it wasn't typical to name a girl junior. So, technically her name is Victor Frankenstein Jr.

As a dad the idea of creating a home that is safe and loving is super important to me. I'm no expert in parenting but it seems to me that a home filled with unconditional love and care allows a child to express themselves more, maybe step out a little more, more willing to fall and make mistakes and potentially creates a security knowing that the parents love them no matter what. I love to hear that my boys love "Momma Night" (time with just her) and they love "Boys Night" (Mom's night out). So, for me, Victoria Jr. and its cast is the expression of that home for a child to be confident, daring, bold and empowered. Empowered through support and love and not only through their inner self work. There are plenty of stories about a person, girl or boy that must become these things on their own. And that is admirable and inspiring. But as a parent with the capacity and desire to build a home of unconditional love, I want to embolden my children with and through love. Some might think this is cheesy. But there it is.

Cheesy is good. I like cheesy.

The other important thing that I want to capture is that notion of imperfection in family. I might paint a picture of perfect, unconditional love. I know that we don't live in that world. Parents yell. They get mad. They have baggage and an entire life that influences their parenting as well as all the things that haunt them. The Monster for me is that idea personified. Talk about a rough upbringing. The Monster was not loved at "birth." He was despised. He could not live up to his father. Victoria is being raised by an imperfect man/creature.

Kids eventually learn that mom and dad are NOT perfect. I feel it crucial to apologize to my boys. Ask for forgiveness. Tell them "I don't know" when I don't know. Walk with them instead of pretending I'm SO far ahead of them. So this book rides the two ideals.

I feel like I need to make some comment about making mistakes and being human, but...

Is this the Sally's House you're helping? What's your connection with their work? Why did you select them as your beneficiary?

Indeed that is the place. Last summer I participated in a charity softball event to raise money for Sally's House. It was my first interaction with them. My good friends were the people running that event. And I also exist in a constant quandary regarding the point of my art. Does it have merit? If so, why? I want my art to have meaning without being a "self-help" book or a direct tale of morality. So I made the decision to infuse my stories with my heart's intent to love kids. More specifically, hurting kids. Kids who might not have the type of home I want for my children (and all kids).

In January I decided to just jump in. Make a book that is inspired by the idea of kids in a loving home. I had drawn 24 pages last October of Victoria. It felt like it fit for my next book and it had the same DNA of Sally's House without being a direct story about a child being taken from a home and then being kept safe, etc. That was too on the nose.

I met with my friends, Jason and Ashlee Talley, who ran the softball event and asked for them to help me figure this out. They've been amazing fonts of knowledge and support. I shared my goal.

Step 1: Make a book and get it funded.
Step 2: Run a fundraiser for Sally's House.
Step 3: Do it again every year if they'll have me.

I can see if this fundraiser is successful we'll look for other organizations to help. The world is rife with people to help. So, instead of doing nothing, I am choosing to do what little I can. If I raise $500 for those kids that will be awesome.

After I met with my friends, I posted to Facebook, "if anyone wants to help me run a fundraiser for a non-profit with my book, PM me." My friend Ray messaged me within minutes and he is now a massive help as we barrel forward towards my first fundraiser for kids. It's a dream come true for me.

Yes, Ray is the person who brought Victoria Jr. to my attention on Google Plus!

I can't stop thinking about how loving her relationship with her family is. The image of her and her dad for "Wrong Side of the Bed" just warms my heart so much. Is there an autobiographical aspect to your work as well?

Sure. My boys are a font of inspiration. Wrestling, playing, coloring, going for walks, adventures, pillow floors, "got your nose," etc. When they stub a toe or bonk a head, I offer to swap body parts. It's become quite the game.

Also, we want to adopt. More specifically, my wife is excited to adopt a little girl. And it scares me. Adding another child scares me. Adding a girl to our home scares me. I think this book on a more personal note is me wrestling a little with adopting a girl. I feel the pull to adopt a little girl. My boys say we should but deep down, I'm scared and that fear is something I need to wrestle with.

What has been the most surprising thing that's happened since you launched this project? Has anything fun or interesting come up that you didn't expect?

Well, the success of this Kickstarter has been a little mind-numbing. And humbling. There is a little girl who offered her piggie bank money for Victoria Jr.

I didn't set out to make a girl hero. I've been told numerous times that there are not enough empowered young girl characters in comics or cartoons. And a fair number are seeing Victoria Jr. as that type of inspiration. That's a little scary for me as I set out to make story about family and this little girl is fast becoming more than simply a character in a book.

I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but I think that's exactly what I'm most excited about. She's just a kid, doing awesome stuff, who happens to be a girl. She's not representing the entirety of girl-hood. 

I love Kickstarter. I love making books. And I love the idea that a book can be more than just a book.

Yes. A good book is quite often more than just a book.

So there you have it, folks. If you're not already backing Victoria Jr., you really should be.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kickstart This!

So you say you want more women in comics who break out of the "strong female character" trope? Maybe some queer women who are complex, fully-human characters? Well, Cassius is the comic for you!
Cassius is a fun twist on a classic hero’s journey with some kickass queer female characters, all inspired by Julius Caesar! It follows our main character Junia, whose ordinary life comes to a grinding halt after a terrifying event alters the course of her fate forever. That one event forces her to become the bearer of a mark that identifies her as Cassius – a legendary figure said to bring about great change.

Written and illustrated by real-life couple Emily Willis and Ann Uland, Cassius tells the story of Junia, our kickass lesbian heroine.
Inspired by Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and the events of history, Cassius is set in a Roman-esque universe centered around the collection of states know as Latium. The story follows our heroine Junia, who belongs to the Latium state of Cyrentha, and believes herself to be no more than ordinary. But one single act of violence suddenly thrusts Junia into a world of politics, betrayal, greed, bloodshed, and fate - and Junia must overcome it all if she is to survive.

For in this world there is the legend of Cassius, one person who bears a cursed mark that will bring about great change. Such change will either be for Latium's benefit or lead to its complete destruction.

It is Junia who now bears this mark, and she is about to take part in something that is much more than any one person can bear alone.
I think what I love the most about this project is that it's a re-telling of a classic story, with a decidedly feminist twist! There's a reason these stories have stayed with us over the centuries -- they're human stories. It's high time we started telling them including a wider cast of characters! I just heard about Cassius today, and already I'm in love. The feminist history nerd is me is doing a happy dance.
Cassius has so many fun plot threads to it. I loved reading a good adventure story that kept building the stakes higher and higher and got me invested in it – that’s what Cassius aims to do. I’m also a huge fan of that “write women as people” saying that goes around social media. That’s so important to me — and for some reason, I see a lot of people equate “strong female character” with “cold and stoic” and it just doesn’t need to be that way. So Junia – our main character – isn’t some unfeeling person just because she’s been given this gigantic task. Junia will be frustrated, and determined, and happy, and all these other things along her journey, because people are full of complex emotions. I want Junia and the rest of the cast to feel real, and for their choices to be full of consequences.
(source: Comicsalliance.com)

You've only got a couple more days to get in on this project! Go. Support Cassius!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kickstart This!

Quick... how many women in science can you name? (Hint: I sincerely hope it's more than Marie Curie, or I haven't been doing my job.)

When Anouk Charles and Benoit Fries went looking for STEM inspiration for their daughter, they realized their lack of knowledge about female scientists. When they asked their friends for help and learned how sadly common this situation was they took matter into their own hands. With the help of an illustrator friend, they developed their Women in Science Card Game, featuring leading women in science throughout history.
The fundamental idea is to familiarize players with women who have left their mark on science and often did not receive the recognition they were due. This isn’t just a question of fairness and gender equality, it’s also a matter of offering role models with whom young girls can identify.

It’s hardly surprising that few girls display an interest in physics or mathematics when they never hear about women who made extraordinary discoveries in these spheres.

20% of the profits generated by the game will be donated to local organizations promoting women in science.
They game play is easy enough for even younger players to be able to pick up the game and start playing right away -- match four cards of the same color to form sets or "labs" with the first player to make three labs the winner -- but interesting enough to hold the attention of older players. Each card features a clever illustration and a short description of what makes that scientist special.

I just love this idea! As a kid, I would have loved just reading the cards, using them as a kind of pocket encyclopedia. In fact, I could see parents or teachers using these cards to introduce new scientists to young people, and prompting them to seek out more info on each woman.

I wish I could order several sets to give them away as birthday and holiday gifts throughout the year. I'll have to settle for one set, and have to invite my favorite little future-scientists over to play cards.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sweet 16 - 16 Women College B-Ballers From History You Should Know

Will you be watching tonight's NCAA Women's Basketball Final? No matter who you're cheering for, it looks to be a fantastic match up between two excellent teams. UCONN and Notre Dame have both played quite well all season!

Just in time to celebrate the achievement of these talented young women, I've put together a list of just a few of the many other amazing women who've played an important role in helping women's college basketball players get where they are today.

1. Senda Berenson
While she was not a basketball player herself, she was instrumental for bringing the sport to women in college, and because of her work with the students of Smith College, her rules for women's basketball were published and shared widely, fueling the boom of women's college teams.

Interestingly, and indicative of the beliefs of the time regarding women and team sports, during the first women's match at Smith, Berenson had to agree that no men would be present to assuage the worries of the faculty that this would present their young ladies in an unfavorable light.

2. Clara Gregory Baer
Around the same time that Senda Berenson was working with the women of Smith College in the northeast, Clara Gregory Baer was doing the same at Newcomb College (now part of Tulane) in the south. In fact, she wrote and published her rules of "basket-ball" several years before Berenson. Interestingly, because of a misunderstanding between Baer and James Naismith (the inventor of basketball), Baer's rules included designated regions for players, which limited their movement during the game. These rules, having been incorporated into the unified rules of women's basketball, remained in effect in many parts of the country until the early 1960s. Baer's writings also included descriptions of the jump shot and one-handed shot, although neither actually appeared in play until the 1930s.

3. L. Margaret Wade
In 1930 and 1931, Wade played basketball for Delta State Teacher's College, where she studied health and physical education. During her career at Delta State, the team's record was 28-5-2. In only her second season there, she was made team captain, a role she also held in her junior year, when she was also named the MVP.

Sadly, that same year Delta State officials succumbed to pressures from outside sources claiming the game was "too strenuous for women" and dropped the program, leaving the players with nothing to show for all their hard work. Margaret and her teammates were so upset they burned their uniforms in protest.

After graduation, Wade played semi-professionally, and took a position as a physical education teacher at the high school level. where she coached several successful basketball programs. In 1959, she took an assistant professor position with Delta State and served as chair of the Women's Physical Education Department.

In 1973, likely a result of Title IX, Delta University asked Wade to help resurrect the women's basketball program. She happily agreed, and she led the Lady Statesmen to three consecutive national championships at the AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament, in 1975, 1976 and 1977. Her success as coach of Delta State brought women's college basketball to a wider public audience and she is credited with helping spark the surge of interest through out the 1970s.

4 & 5. Faye & Raye Wilson
While many colleges were cutting women's basketball programs, hundreds of amateur teams popped up around the country, holding matches under the auspices of the Amateur Athletic Union. These teams found it beneficial to operate within the AAU, since the AIAW hadn't been formed yet and the NCAA did not sanction women's basketball until 1982. The AAU gave them the structure needed to hold regular matches and national championships, while allowing the colleges to turn to private business to pay for scholarships, uniforms, and travel expenses.

From 1953-58 the Hutcherson Flying Queens of Wayland Baptist College were the undisputed queens the basketball court, tallying a 131-game winning streak and capturing 4 AAU national titles by 1958. Two of the brightest stars on this team full of excellent players were twin sisters Faye and Raye Wilson.

Faye and Raye and the rest of their team had to overcome varied obstacles to achieve their basketball success. Not only did much of society believe basketball was too rough for young women, their fellow classmates at the Baptist college were concerned about their moral standing. "They went to chapel and prayed for us every day,” said Raye. “They thought we were more tempted to commit a sin because we wore shorts."

6. Nera White
The fact that the coach of the winning Wayland Baptist College team called the star of their rival team the "greatest woman basketball player in history" should give you a clue to how amazing an athlete Nera White truly was.

She was an AAU All-American for fifteen years in a row, from 1955 to 1969. During that time, she led the Nashville Business College team to ten AAU national championships, and was the AAU MVP nine times.

While it may sound as though she was in college longer than even I was, that's not the case. Like the Hutcherson Flying Queens of Wayland Baptist College, the Nashville Business College team was part of the AAU. Players did not have to be enrolled at the school to play for the team. Still, I'm counting her as part of the women's college basketball dream team because of her incredible talent, and because so few college basketball programs existed at the time, forcing these women to take positions with these programs only loosely affiliated with schools.

She wasn't just a basketball star. She was a versatile softballer, playing center field, shortstop, and pitcher, honored as All-World in 1959 and 1965 for the ASA Fast Pitch softball team. She was the first woman to circle the bases in a remarkable ten seconds.

7. Joan Crawford
Crawford began her college basketball career at Clarendon Junior College. During her two years there, she helped to lead her team to the quarterfinals of the AAU national tournament in 1957, and she was an AAU All-American.

After she graduated with her associates degree, she was sought after by a number of AAU teams affiliated with four-year colleges. She was offered a scholarship to Wayland Baptist University, but chose to go to Nashville Business College instead. She began as a student, taking classes in the business program. But she dropped that and took a position as supervisor in the mail facility. She continued playing with the team for twelve seasons. Every year of her time there, she was named to the All-American team, and helped her team win the AAU National Championship ten times. She and Nera White became the dominant duo of the era. "We knew almost what each other was going to do. We didn't have to look or aim. A lot of times, in a fast break, I'd just throw it down to Nera, she'd just throw it down to me."

8. Lucia Harris
Shortly after the reinstatement of the women's basketball program at Delta State, Lucia Harris joined the Lady Statesmen, and helped lead the team to a 16-2 record. In her second year, the team made it all the way to the AIAW final, where they faced the powerhouse Immaculata University, three-time champions looking for their fourth win. Instead, Harris and her team served them their walking papers. Harris scored 32 points and 16 rebounds, for a final score of 90-81.

In 1975, Delta State was the only college team with an undefeated record. Harris lead the team in four games at the national tournament and was named as the tournament's MVP, scoring 138 points and 63 rebounds. And the nation was able to watch her do it all, since that year, for the first time in history, the championship game was televised nationally.

During the 1975-76 season, Harris continued to dominate the leader boards with a 31.2 points per game average, and scoring 1,060 points. Her team was invited to play a match in the Madison Square Garden, one of the first women's basketball game ever played there. Now a senior, Harris was the star of the show, scoring 47 points. Her team continued to excel, and again reached the AIAW finals, this time blasting the Louisiana State University team 68-55, winning their third consecutive title. Again, Harris was named the MVP.

Her overall college career record was 109–6, and she finished with 2,981 points and 1,662 rebounds, with a 25.9 average points per game. She graduated holding fifteen out of eighteen records at Delta State, and was awarded the first Broderick Cup in 1977.

9. Nancy Lieberman
The mid- to late-70s was an exciting era for women's college basketball. Increased national attention coupled with the passage of Title IX gave women's hoops a huge boost in support and viability. One of the powerhouses was Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. And Nancy Lieberman was one of their top stars, earning herself the name "Lady Magic."

She attended ODU from 1976 to 1980, and in that time she lead her team to two consecutive AIAW national championships, and one WNIT championship in 1978. In each of the four years she was at ODU, she led the team with 2,430 points, 1,167 rebounds, with a college average of 18.1 points per game. Her school records of 961 assists and 562 steals still stand today.

She was the first woman to win the prestigious Wade Trophy, named after Margaret Wade, two years in a row. After college, she was the first woman to play in a men's professional basketball league when she joined the USBL's Springfield Fame in 1986.

10. Ann Meyers
The same time Nancy Lieberman was ruling the court at ODU, Ann Meyers was dominating at UCLA, having been recruited with a unprecedented 4-year athletic scholarship, the first of any university. And for UCLA it was a very valuable contribution. In her Junior year, she recorded the first "quadruple-double" in NCAA D1 history, an amazing occurrence when a player accumulates a double digit number total in four of five categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots) -- with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals. It's really no surprise that the Bruins won the AIAW national championship that year.

During her time at UCLA, she became the first woman basketball player to earn four All America titles. She also took home the Broderick Cup in 1978.

11. Carol Blazejowski
Unlike many college basketball players, Blazejowski didn't begin playing the game until her senior year in high school. But she was a natural, and playing for Montclair State College in New Jersey, she went on to develop her talent at the jump shot (which she'd only seen performed by professionals she watched on television), and became one of the highest female scorers in the history of the sport.

Known as "The Blaze," she led the country in scoring, with a 33.5 points per game average in the 1976-77 season, and 38.6 points per game in 1977-78. Sports Illustrated called her "the most relentlessly exciting performer in the history of women's basketball."

In 1978, she set a Madison Square Garden record for women or men, scoring 52 points in a game against Queens College. In her final three games with Montclair she scored a remarkable 40 or more points. That same year, she won the first ever Wade Trophy. After graduation, she played for the Allentown Crestettes, an AAU team, where she became the leading scorer on the national team and was chosen for the ultimately doomed US Olympics Team.

12. Anne Donovan
In 1979 Anne Donovan had the distinction of being the most heavily recruited female college player, receiving offers from more than 250 schools. She decided to follow in the footsteps of her college hoops hero, Nancy Lieberman, and attend Old Dominion University, where she helped lead the Lady Monarchs to the 1979-80 AIAW championship.

While at ODU, she set school records left and right, with 2,719 points, 1,976 rebounds, and 801 blocked shots, as well as 38 seasonal games played, and an over all .640 seasonal field goal average. In fact, she averaged a "double-double" for her entire career, with 20 points and 14.5 rebounds per game average. Her NCAA record of 801 career blocked shots still stands, and her record of 50 points scored in a single game is still a school record.

In 1982, the NCAA began its attempt to wrestle the college championship from the AIAW, and the first two Final Fours were hosted by ODU, who played in both, losing to Kansas State in 1982, and Louisiana Tech in 1983. Donovan was the first female Naismith College Player of the Year in 1983.

13. Pam Kelly
The first NCAA women's basketball tournament was held in 1982, and won by the Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech, led by the amazing Pam Kelly. Championships weren't new to them, though, as she'd already led them to the AIAW Championship in 1981.

During her time at LA Tech, she was the only woman named to the All-American team three years in a row, 1980, 1981, and 1982. At graduation, she held 24 school records, and had helped her team win 143 of 153 games played during her career, driving them to a national record of 54 straight wins during their two championship seasons. She is still the all-team leading player, with 2,979 points and 1,511 rebounds.

In 1982, Kelly was awarded the celebrated Wade Trophy, and in 1984, she was enshrined in the Louisiana Tech Athletic Hall of Fame, and her #41 jersey was retired.

14. Cheryl Miller
Cheryl Miller set tons of records during her four years at the University of Southern California, and led the Trojans to a 122-20 record and NCAA championships in 1983 and 1984, where she was the tournament MVP for both years.

During her college career at USC, she scored 3,018 career points, placing her sixth all-time in NCAA history, and was named All-American for all four years. In fact, her career rebounding mark of 1,534 ranks third in NCAA history.

She held several Trojan career records, including 414 assists, 321 blocked shots, 3,018 points, 1,534 rebounds, 1,159 field goals made, 700 free throws made, 128 games played, and 462 steals, of which all but two still stand today.

Miller was named Naismith College Player of the Year three times, while also earning the Wade Trophy and Broderick Cup. In 1986, her #31 jersey was the first basketball (male or female) jersey to be retired by USC.

15. Sheryl Swoopes
Sheryl Swoope's college basketball career got off to a bit of a rocky start. She had originally been recruited by the University of Texas, but left almost immediately after she arrived on campus, instead enrolling at South Plains College, where she played basketball for two years.

In 1992, though, she transferred to Texas Tech, where she played out the remaining two years of her college career. During her senior season she helped lead the team to the 1993 NCAA championship. In her short time at Texas Tech, she set a slew of national records. She hit 47 points, breaking the best single-game championship scoring record set by Bill Walton, and 177 points in five games, setting the record for scoring in a championship series. She also set the record for the most field goals in the championship, hitting 16 overall.

Her school records are just as impressive. In the 1992-93 season, she scored 955 points, with a career average of 24.9 points per game. She made three triple-doubles, and twenty-three double-doubles, 14 of which she made during her record-setting senior year.

In 1993, she was awarded the Naismith College Player of the Year trophy, and the Women's Sports Foundation named her the 1993 Sportswoman of the Year.

16. Chamique Holdsclaw
Chamique Holdsclaw played basketball for the University of Tennessee from 1995 to 1999. She helped the Lady Vols become the first to win three consecutive NCAA championships, in 1996, 1997 and 1998, and three SEC tournaments in 1996, 1997, and 1999.

While at Tennessee, she earned 3,025 points and 1,295 rebounds, setting the school's all-time record, male or female. She was the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in both the SEC and the NCAA's women's history, with 470 points and 197 rebounds.

She was the fifth woman in NCAA history to have 3,000 points, and one of only five women's college players to ever accumulate over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 assists, and 300 steals. She graduated with a career a remarkable win/loss record of 134-17.

In 1998 and 1999, she received the Naismith trophy, and in 1999, she was awarded the prestigious James E. Sullivan prize as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

For more information:

WNBA History of Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Timeline

About: Women's History - Women's Basketball Timeline

"Hoop Queens," Texas Monthly - a brilliant piece about the women of the AAU

"Nashville Business College NCAA Women's Basketball," The Tennessean

Flying Queens documentary

You may also be interested in:

Today in Herstory - Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson came to tennis later than most who pursued a professional career. But she was a natural, and quickly rose in the ranks of her local tennis circle. In fact, she was so good and so well loved by her community that in 1940 they took up a collection to pay for a junior membership and lessons at the prestigious Cosmopolitan Tennis Club.

Another Double Hitter: Movie Review & Shout-out
I would have loved to have known about Doris Sams and the other professional womens baseball players when I was a girl! No telling how I would have used that info. I wasn't especially athletically inclined, but it certainly would have been inspirational anyway. I'm sure I would have devoured biographies about women ball players if I had found any, the same way I read through every book I could find on Amelia Earhart.

Role Models - Billie Jean King
In college, she had to work two jobs to pay her way, even though male tennis stars were on full scholarship. If you ever needed a reminder of why Title IX is so important, just think of that. She said it was that realization that lead her to push for more equality in sports and in politics.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Kickstart This!

I love this Shay & Ivy: More Than Just a Princess project by Sheena McFeely.
The first book is about Shay & Ivy and their friends, at an imaginary ball in their bedroom, dreaming of being princesses. They all dreamt of riding horses, owning closets full of gowns, and dancing in royal castles. All girls, but Shay felt out of place. How was she to royally fit in if she did not want to be a princess anymore?

Determined as ever, Shay was going to find the answer. Shay & Ivy soon find out that their dreams go beyond a kingdom. The sisters began to visualize themselves as fearless pilots riding planes, scientists owning labs to perform experiments, and astronauts dancing among the stars.
I mean... come on! You have to know that we here at the Self-Rescuing Princess Society, of all places, know that there are so many ways to be a princess, and most don't involve "riding horses, owning closets full of gowns, and dancing in royal castles." Or, at least, not in quite the way these little girls might be imagining it. Although horses do come in quite handy at times, and as I mentioned earlier, that is one of the three Girl Scout badges I earned.

No, Shay and Ivy have discovered that the princess culture might seem glamorous at first, but usually tends to become a bit uncomfortable when it won't let you do science experiments or travel into space.

So, I'm late to the celebration of this excellent project, but wanted to bring it to your attention anyway. You've only got until Sunday to back this and get your own copy of the book. I certainly hope you do.

Happy Birthday Jane Goodall

Today, April 3, is Jane Goodall's 81st birthday. Everyone is writing posts about her great works and I am enjoying each and every one.

I want to share with you my own memory of an evening with Jane Goodall, instead. Two years ago, the local bookstore hosted her for a night of speaking and book signing. Of course I snapped up a set of tickets so I could go with my hubby and our friend.

It was technically April 6, 2013, three days after her 79th birthday. Still, as she walked into the packed high school auditorium, the audience broke into "Happy Birthday" in her honor. It was magical.

Her talk was brilliant and inspirational. She talked about being a young girl in England, taking her earthworms to bed. And about her wonderfully supportive, if confused, mother, who suggested she should leave them outside so they could live, and therefore she could study them better tomorrow. How, when she decided to try to get to Africa by hook or by crook, her mother supported her whole-heartedly. And when Jane actually went to Africa to work, her proper English mother boarded the boat with her and spent months in the rain forest so Jane wouldn't be alone.

All of this was to lead up to the promotion for her legacy project, the Roots and Shoots program, and the importance of getting these young girls from around the globe interested in science and conservation. A topic very near and dear to my own heart as well, as I'm sure you can guess.

The speech was probably only about an hour, maybe a little longer. Afterward, we were all asked to line up to have a moment to shake Jane's hand, have her autograph our bookplate, and get a photo taken with her. We wound up near the back of the line. Just in front of a group of people with service dogs in training. It was quite a long wait until our turn, as there were probably 300 people in the audience, but we passed the time chatting and playing with the dogs who were "off duty."

By the time we got to the stage, it was 11 pm, and everyone was tired. Especially Jane, who'd likely been traveling all day and wore out from having to make small talk with so many people. Just as it was my turn to shake Jane's hand, her handler spied the dogs and smiled at me and my friend and apologized, but turned to Jane and whispered in her ears.

In an instant, the exhaustion, which had been so clear on her face, was gone, and she jumped up from her stool and practically ran towards the dogs, exclaiming, "Puppies!"

She immediately got down on the floor with them and rolled around for pets and loves and many, many belly rubs. It was such an amazing, spontaneous sight, I didn't have the presence of mind to take a video of the event. Once she and the dogs had settled down a bit, she turned to me and asked if it was OK if she signed their book plates first. Of course it was. It not only OK, it was treat for all of us to witness something so wonderful. I did manage to get a dim, slightly blurry photo of that.

Honestly, I don't remember what she and I chatted about, or how her hand felt when I shook it. I'm not even sure where the signed book plate is. It was supposed to go with her latest book which had been delayed for one reason or another. I wonder if I ever picked up my copy?

All I really remember of that evening is the highlights of her talk, and this magical moment when one of my heroes became the perfect embodiment of human kindness and love.