The Sport Princess series shows girls that while princesses may be beautiful and graceful, they are even more so tough, uncompromising, competitive and strong. For the first time, magical stories combine princess prettiness with rugged sports.
“As a sport-loving mom, I wish I had grown up with girl athletic role models to look up to and read about,” explains author, Bethany Hegerhorst. “Instead, sports like football were only for boys, so my wall was plastered with pictures of Steve Young.”
When Bethany’s now 10-year-old-daughter Mackayla turned three, she started dressing in princess dresses and playing with Barbie dolls, but also loved watching football and could imitate and name all the referees’ hand signals.
“That’s when I knew the princess options were too limited,” Bethany continues. “Why weren’t there any Sport Princesses? Tennis shoes and cleats and mud mixed in with the glitter and pink and glamour? There can be more to being a glamorous princess than just dressing up, having tea parties, and waiting for a rescuing prince. She can be outdoorsy, gain feminine strength, and be empowered through sports.”
As soon as Bethany created the first Sport Princess characters and stories, Mackayla started mixing her Cinderella dress and plastic high heels with football jerseys and cleats, and started requesting glittery football stripes for preschool.
Mackayla has played football on a previously all boys team for four years now, and is hoping for a girl ice hockey league. Recently, she told Bethany, “I hope the rules are different when I get older so that girls can play in the NFL, too.”
The Sports Princess series starts with soccer princess Josephina “Jo” and baseball princess Samantha “Sam”, which have already been illustrated by artist Kristin Abbott, and are ready for publication. A crowd-funding campaign has been set up to raise money to illustrate the third story, about football princess Mackayla “Mack” and fund the publishing of the first three books. (http://www.sportprincesskickstarter.com)
Aside from fun stories, Bethany believes her Sport Princess series can help girls to develop a more holistic view of gender roles now and in their future.
“Not only is gender equality top of mind today, but research shows that girls who stick with sports are more likely to attend college and be employed in male-dominated industries.” says Bethany. “We want to create a brand that will appeal to girls at an early age while expanding their influence tomorrow.”
The Sports Princess series is authored by Bethany Hegerhorst, who is a working mother living in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. The series was developed in collaboration with Bethany’s brother, David Brady, who lives in Portland, Oregon with his husband. The team has been working with artist Kristin Abbott on illustrations for the series.
The crowd-funding campaign, hosted on Kickstarter, is seeking to raise $50,000 by June 6th to publish the first three books. There are also stretch goals to turn the princesses into athletic dolls (make room, Barbie!).
On Kickstarter: http://www.sportprincesskickstarter.com
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