Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Martina and Chrissie 3.01.17

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

I remember having to read biographies and write book reports.  There were two people I chose to consistently read and write about - Helen Keller and Chris Evert.  I don't know why I had an early fascination with them.  I just remember choosing them in different grade levels, multiple times.

Here it is, decades later, and I'm back to reading about Chris Evert.  Still a fascinating person, with just a little more history behind her now.

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports
Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports
written by Phil Bildner
illustrated by Brett Helquist
published by Candlewick
March 14th, 2017

Book summary:
A fascinating dual biography of tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert celebrates the power of equality, respect, and sportsmanship. 
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert come from completely different places and play tennis in completely different ways. Chrissie is the all-American girl: practiced, poised, with perfect technique. Martina hails from Czechoslovakia, a Communist country, and her game is ruled by emotion. Everything about them is different, except one thing: they both want to be the best. But as their intense rivalry grows, something else begins to swing into place, and a friendship forms that will outlast all their tennis victories. Phil Bildner and Brett Helquist tell the engaging true story of these two masters of the court as they win title after title and, most importantly, the hearts of the fans."

I think this book has so many uses within a classroom situation beyond just discussing/using the book as a biography.

Teaching points to consider:
  • Phil breaks the wall and speaks directly to the reader.  Makes the book even more personable since the author is talking to you.
  • You know the back and forth of a tennis match?  Imagine the spectator's heads going back and forth, side to side.  That's the rhythm of the book.  Side note, I hope this book is available on audio one day and Phil does the recording!
  • The fluency of this book, they rhythm of it, adds to the emotion of the book:  strong and powerful.  Sports competitions can be emotional and the way the language works in this one really makes you feel it.
  • The idea of them doing things they weren't supposed to do is emphasized over and over.  Compare and contrast their behaviors - what trends do you notice?  Did they make the right decisions?
  • Debate this idea using textual evidence - when playing the same sport, competitors should not be friends.
  • Phil makes the claim at the beginning of the book that their rivalry is the greatest in the history of sports.  Do you think he backs up this claim with evidence?
This is a biography I strongly recommend adding to your collection.  So many uses!  Pick it up March 14th!


  1. I remember how excited we would be to see these two women play, and then play each other. Can't wait to read this new bio. How fun that you read so much in your school life about Chrissie & now again.

  2. I'm looking forward to this one, Michele. I remember their rivalry well, even though I wasn't a tennis fan.

  3. I've seen this one around recently--I just reserved it from our library. Looking forward to reading it :)

  4. I actually remember this as a news event. Can't wait to read it!

  5. Tennis is one of the few sports I can tolerate to watch if I'm somewhere and I have completely nothing else to do.