I am so excited to present THE HEART OF THE STORM, an illustrated picture book biography that celebrates the life, joy, and accomplishments of the Seattle Storm basketball legend, Sue Bird. The book, illustrated by Ellen Rooney, releases on March 1, 2022 by the Little Bigfoot imprint of Sasquatch Books.
Researching and writing THE HEART OF THE STORM was such a joy. Sue is an incredible athlete and a great role model for kids, I felt that her story growing up as a strong, independent little girl who was perfectly comfortable being herself would be a natural. I know that young readers will identify with her worries and the hard choices she needed to make in childhood. These are the experiences, in everyone’s life including Sue’s, that help us grow into our true selves.
For me, a picture book biography works best when it has resonance and relevance for children today. Why does this person’s life matter and what does it mean for kids now? What changed in our world because of this person’s life? And what does this mean for their future? The answers here lie in how Sue has used her prominence as an athlete to also promote the issues she cares about, especially supporting the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities on the court and off and working to achieve pay equity for women athletes.Sue began her professional career a mere six years after the birth of women’s pro basketball in the United States and the two stories are intertwined.
THE HEART OF THE STORM follows Sue’s journey from her childhood, full of energy and determination, to becoming one of the most versatile athletes of all time—and an inspirational leader on and off the court. Today, remarkable “women” athletes like Sue are finally being recognized as simply great athletes.
Sue’s life story is also a love letter to Seattle, the city where she has spent her entire professional career. Young readers—both girls and boys—will find much to be inspired by her grit, authenticity, and heart.
The book’s themes of finding your passion; being yourself; equality, diversity and inclusion; and giving back offer children tangible examples of putting your values into practice. I hope you enjoy the book!