With the Women's World Cup on now and the Lionesses starting with a victory, it seems a perfect moment to share my review of this little gem of a book from Barrington Stoke publishers. 'Finding Her Feet' is a wonderful book about a young girl overcoming her anxiety to find confidence and friendship when she joins her local girl's football team. It also cleverly interweaves the narrative with information about the history of women's football. A short and punchy book by Eve Ainsworth with engaging illustrations by Luna Valentine.
Lily always feels a little bit left out. Shy and anxious, she finds school really hard, particularly as most of the other girls all seem so confident. Most of the time, Lily wishes that she could just disappear. But during a game of football in PE, Lily's teacher spots her natural talent and invites Lily to join the local girls' team, where she starts to make friends with some of the other players. Finally, she thinks she's found a place where she fits in, but will a vicious argument with one of her teammates put all her progress in jeopardy?
This is such a super book, especially for girls and reluctant readers in KS2. In my class, the girls wanted to read this to be inspired by Lily's journey and learn about the history of women's football, but the boys also wanted to read it to learn more and enjoy it simply as a football story. I love that there are more books with girls playing football. The other one that comes to mind is Lily and the Rockets. But there needs to be even more. My daughter is also called Lily and she's not quite old enough to read this herself yet, but she was smiling widely when she saw the cover and I told her the character was called Lily. Later that day, my daughter wanted to play football in the garden (and that's just the impact of the cover). Representation matters.
As a Year 4 teacher, conflicts between girls at this age is very common, but this story has a lovely and inspiring message about teamwork and giving each other the benefit of the doubt, while overcoming anxieties about fitting in. What a perfect little book to read during the Women's World Cup. Come on Lionesses!