Booktalk for ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson

As soon as Astrid sees her first roller derby match, she is determined to become a great skater herself. She signs up for a summer roller derby camp and can hardly wait for it to begin — until she finds out her best friend Nicole is doing ballet instead. Astrid can’t believe it. She and Nicole have been best friends since first grade and they always do everything together!

Not only does Astrid have to face derby camp alone, but Nicole starts spending more and more time with Rachel, a fellow dancer and Astrid’s sworn enemy.

Derby camp itself is really hard. Astrid barely knows how to skate, and here she is doing 50-lap killers, pushcarts, pacelines, plow stops, T-stops, turn stops, hip checks, backward skating…it’s exhausting!

She practices hours extra every day for weeks. She wants to be good enough to play in their first bout coming up. Somehow, it feels like if she can play — and especially if she can be a star — she’ll be winning more than a game. She’ll also be winning the fight with Nicole.

 

Genre: graphic novel, realistic fiction

Grades 4-7.

 

Anna’s take on it:

Roller Girl is one of my favorite books, and I’ve seen a lot of girls who agree. I love the honest portrayal of friendships being made and broken. And I learned more about roller derby than I ever thought I’d know.

I booktalked Roller Girl for 4th and 5th grade classes in Spring 2016. When I started booktalking it in March, not many kids had heard of it, but by the end of the school year, it was already a familiar title in a lot of classrooms. Even when I didn’t booktalk it in a particular class, kids would see it on my display table and want to read it. One girl leaned over and whispered to her friend, “Can I borrow your copy of Roller Girl after school?” Another picked it up and hugged it: “I love this book!”