She Persisted: Sally Ride by Atia Abawi

She Persisted: Sally Ride

Atia Abawi, Author

Gillian Flint, Illustrator

Philomel Books, Nonfiction, 2021

Pages: 80

Suitable for ages: 6-9

Themes: Sally Ride, Biography, Women, Astronauts Physicists

Synopsis: As the first woman in space, Sally Ride broke barriers and made her dreams come true. But she wanted to do even more! After leaving NASA, she created science and engineering programs that have helped other girls and women make their dreams come true as well.

Why I like this book and the entire She Persisted chapter book series:

Young girls need role models who share their interests and dreams. Sally Ride is particularly interesting because she was curious, active, determined and an athletic. She thrived in sports and grew up with dreams of being a shortstop for the Los Angele Dodgers. In later years she discovered she was an exceptional tennis player. And she loved science and had her own telescope. Becoming an astronaut was not something on her radar.

I appreciated that the author shows readers how dreams change. Even though Sally loved playing tennis in college, she decided to put her studies on hold and went home to California to focus on becoming a professional tennis player. She me and trained day and night, and was recruited to play for Stanford. Doors began to open as found her love of physics.

Abwai also shows readers how hard it was for girls in 1969 to study a subject like physics in college. She wasn’t accepted by male professors who though “girls were taking jobs away from men.” I was in college at the same time and remember the challenges women faced. In many cases there were few role models in specific fields.       

The story-like text moves along at a quick pace, relating important information that readers will find appealing. There are six chapters in each book. It is well-targeted for its intended audience. At the end, Abawi includes a section for readers about “How You Can Persist” and follow in the footsteps of Sally Ride.  Gillian Flint’s expressive and simple pen and ink drawings compliment the story for readers and give them a peek into Sally’s early life.

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who stood up, spoke up and rose up against the odds!  

Atia Abawi is among a group of authors who have been invited by Chelsea Clinton to write chapters books for young readers about the childhood and lives of remarkable women. Clinton has selected a “sisterhood” of authors to write each book. If you are looking for biographies of famous girls/women to inspire young readers, this series is a perfect choice. 

There are 20 books about American women have been released monthly from 2021 to 2022. They include Harriet Tubman, Claudette Colvin, Sally Ride, Virginia Apgar, Nelly Bly, Sonia Sotomayor, Florence Griffith Joiner, Ruby Bridges, Clara Lemlich, Margaret Chase Smith, Maria Tall Chief, Helen Keller, Oprah Winfrey and Coretta Scott King, Temple Grandin, and Mala Yousafzai. Marian Anderson, Maya Lin, Rosalind Franklin and Wangari Maathai will be released in coming months. They may be purchased individually in paperback, or in a chapter book collection. And, they can be found in libraries. This entire series belongs in every school library. 

Atia Abawi is a foreign news correspondent who spent ten years living and working in Afghanistan and then the Middle East. She was born to Afghan parents in West Germany and was raised in the United States. She is the critically acclaimed author of The Secret Sky and A Land of Permanent Goodbyes. She currently lives in California with her husband, Connor Powell, their son Arian, and their daughter, Elin.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

23 thoughts on “She Persisted: Sally Ride by Atia Abawi

    • Yes, I was so happy the author showed that in the story. We all had our childhood dreams, which kept changing. Not every child knows in college what he/she wants to do. I hope it is a time for exploration. I know it took me to age 30, to see my path beginning to form. We need some life experiences in the mix. But there are those who know what they want to do as a child and stick with it. Sally demonstrates how important it is to explore your passions.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a great series. Sally Ride’s story is an inspiration for young readers. The other titles should provided even more motivation to fulfill one’s dream. Thanks for featuring this title and the series on MMGM this week.


    • This is the third book in the series I’ve shared. I occasionally review another one just to keep the series out there. The entire collection belongs in school because it features such a diverse group of women and their dreams.


  2. I’ve heard great things about this series, and this particular biography sounds fascinating, Patricia! It’s really interesting to imagine someone’s life goals changing so much in adulthood that they end up becoming an astronaut—you have to imagine discovering physics must have really had an impact on Ride. Thanks so much for the wonderful review!


    • Yes, pursuing physics in the late 60s and early 70s at Stanford was done. The attitudes have now changed, thank goodness. But I can’t imagine being told that “girls shouldn’t pursue physics because it took a job away from a men.” I was born the same year as Ride and went to college about the same time. I was in journalism, but I don’t remember feeling that backlash from professors. We were always encouraged. And we had female role models as professors.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’d enjoy reading a couple of the books. You can find them in the library and read one in one setting. I would just love to see this complete series in every classroom because the diversity of careers and dreams is stunning.


  3. This sounds awesome. I love that this has become a series. I definitely want to read this one- as I always thought it would be so cool to be an astronaut. I know a little about Sally Ride- but I would love to learn more. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


    • You are welcome. Like you, I knew little about Sally Ride, even though we were the same age. I can not say enough about this series. They belong in every school library. They are all such great role models.


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