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A Girl Named Dan Review by Maggi Beardsley

Dandi Daley Mackall
Sleeping Bear Press
27500 Drake Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

A Girl Named Dan is a beautiful hardback children's book that tells the true story of Dandi Daley, a young girl who enjoyed playing baseball in 1961. It is a suspenseful book filled with lots of American history. Dandi, also called "Dan," is an elementary schoolgirl who excels in baseball, but the boys decide she can't play with them anymore. The author includes definitions of words that she uses in the text. The vocabulary helps to give the reader a flavor of America in the early 1960s, and the author includes some definitions. She also includes a note about Title IX of the Education Amendment, which changed the opportunities for girls and women in education and sports.

I would use this book as a read-aloud in a unit about American history during the 1950s and 1960s. The book is filled with rich history lessons. It describes the typical American childhood during this time period as well as the growth of baseball as a national sport. The author even mentions how the space race affected Americans.

As someone who enjoyed playing alongside boys when I was young, I loved the book. I could identify with Dandi's enjoyment in playing and the emotions she experienced when the boys excluded her. Many children have been left out of groups or activities. I appreciated the authentic baseball vocabulary as well as the definitions, since I was unfamiliar with the terms.

Initially, my son wasn't excited about reading the book. He is about the same age as the boys in the book, and he wants to do things that are just for boys. So he and I read it together without his sisters. It gave us an opportunity to discuss childhood and baseball.

Homeschoolers who like to read real-life historical stories will enjoy adding this to their study of American history. Those who prefer to use a textbook for education might use this as a reader. A Girl Named Dan is a beautiful book that gives us a picture of how Title IX has changed so many things for girls today.

Product review by: Maggi Beardsley, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2008.