August 13, 2017


The Girl Who Ran, written by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee and illustrated by Susanna Chapman, is the true story of the first female runner in the Boston Marathon. When Bobbi Gibb was a girl she loved to run, but female runners were frowned upon. When she saw a call for the Boston Marathon, though, Bobbi set her mind to entering and being an equal competitor. Even when that meant disguising her gender. 

The watercolor illustrations make readers feel like they're being swept right along with Bobbi as she runs through the book, always left to right and often with "motion" lines trailing behind her. It's hard not to get wrapped up in the energy we experience, both in the text and images. Chapman cleverly uses those motion lines to imitate and communicate the general mood of the protagonist: when she's inside, often receiving bad news, she's surrounded by a dark aura -- not to mention dark, hand-written font-- but as she runs she has red and eventually yellow as an entrant in the marathon. Of course, she ends on her signature red, a fully realized runner and competitor, and the colors are a fun way to mark Bobbi's visual and emotional progress through the book.

The Girl Who Ran published in June from Compendium. It's one to run out and get, hands-down.

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