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Book cover of No Girls Allowed

No Girls Allowed

By Natalie Corbett Sampson. Nimbus Publishing, 2019. 228 pages, $14.95.
Jane Ranson

No Girls Allowed is an inspiring novel based on the true story of a girl who fought to play hockey in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in the 1970s, when there was no team for girls in the city. When she learns that she cannot join the boy’s team, Tina is extremely disappointed, but she’s still determined to play. With support and help from her family she takes her fight to the Human Rights Commission. They decide that Tina can play on a boys’ team until the court makes a decision, even if only one coach is willing to have her on his team. But Tina learns that the fight isn’t over, because playing hockey on a boys’ team results in her and her brother being teased and ridiculed at school, in the community and on the rink.

As the book progresses, Tina’s desire to play hockey helps her stay true to her passion and beliefs despite the teasing she endures. She becomes closer to her friend Shari, and some of the boys on her hockey team begin to see her as a good athlete and a valuable member of the team. More people begin to notice and question gender discrimination in the sport.

Although the story is predominately about the desire to play hockey, Tina is portrayed as a very well-rounded athlete. She plays baseball with her friend Shari and another friend who, inspired by Tina’s perseverance, convinces her dad to let her play hockey as well. The girls play on a baseball team with boys, which is deemed acceptable, unlike hockey. This inconsistency causes both the reader and the characters to wonder, how does this make sense? Is the Yarmouth Minor Hockey Association showing discrimination against girls?

This is an inspiring story about discrimination, resilience, determination, passion and family. It would be a worthwhile addition to a Junior or Intermediate classroom library and has the potential to spark many productive and educational discussions about gender stereotyping, equality, justice and the ability to stand up for yourself and others.

Jane Ranson is a member of the Limestone Teacher Local.