"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, March 8, 2018

ReedALOUD: Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon

I am enamored with this book.
Maybe it's because its a local story. 
Maybe its because I'm a runner. 
 Maybe its because the narrative and art.
Most likely, its because of the narrative and art.

In Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon,  Annette Bay Pimentel and Micha Archer have created a moving and inspiring story of the first female runner of the Boston Marathon. A runner who was not recognized for her accomplishments until 30 years later, when she was officially recognized as the female winner of the 1966, 1967, and 1968 marathons, but more on that later. 

This book.

Before I share more about the book, look at the thinking my fourth graders did after our read aloud. You know a book hits the mark when, on the spot, these are their reactions. Their ability to pull personality traits and verbally remember the evidence from the text is indicative of its powerful message.

I read Girl Running and create, with the students, an exemplar for the project they will be engaged in over the next few weeks. The project will culminate in a Google slide show for a picture book biography from our library. 
Back to the book!

Annette Bay Pimentel's narrative is concise yet packs an emotional punch. We readers feel what Bobbi feels - her determination, anger, anticipation, confidence. Micha Archer's art is stunning in its detail and ability to convey Bobbi's emotions. We know where she is and what she is doing and we also know how she feels about it. Check it out:
This longing that we see as Bobbi looks out the window.

Bobbi's joy running in the woods in the fall.

This early spring scene is just as it feels. 
My legs also twitch each time I watch the Marathon, 
but I have never been brave enough to try. 
I am so impressed by Bobbi's courage.

Nursing shoes! Disapproving stares. She is unstoppable. 

These houses!

So much love for this Volkswagen.

The coast, hills, cornfields, and mountains 
help readers understand Bobbi's journey.

The narrative and art radiates with Bobbi's anger and frustration.

We readers hold our breath.

This right here. Courage. Determination.

These pages show the importance of support.

We barely need Pimentel's narrative, 
but it is so strong and conveys more than just these amazing radiating steps of pain.

I love that the people are a blur, 
whereas earlier on the course they were identifiable. 
From my friends who have run, 
this is what they say it feels like when you finish.

This feels like the ideal ending to this book. 
It's not just about Bobbi, 
it's about the girls and women she inspired and encouraged to run.


  1. I love the details you focused on. What a joy to have such careful readers!

  2. Hi Jennifer! Looks like two great books to read with your students!

    I can't wait to hear more about the Google Slides your students are going to make. Hope you blog about them:-)!

  3. Thank you so much! I appreciate how closely you looked at my work.Say hello to your class for me and tell them they can be writers and illustrators starting NOW!
    With love,Micha