If Hoosiers are known for anything, it is our love of basketball. Hoops, a graphic novel from Matt Tavares, both celebrates and challenges our fandom with a fictionalized account of the first Indiana state basketball championship for high school girls in 1976. Following the introduction of Title IX, girls across the country finally had the opportunity to play sports like their male counterparts. Unlike male athletes, however, they were met with unequal playing conditions, resources, and fan support.
Hoops both tells, and shows, one team’s fight on and off the court for equality and respect. While the characters are in high school, side plots regarding friendships and relationships are aimed at upper elementary to middle school readers, and help make the girls' experiences all the more relatable to kids today.
An author’s note about the true inspiration for the story, as well as an afterword on Title IX and more recent struggles for inequality in women’s sports, help bring light to some very real, and not totally unresolved issues that face female athletes today. All that being said, Hoops at its core is a fun read with well-paced illustrations that match the feel and excitement of the best sports movies. Did someone say Hoosiers?