More than a kick by Tayla Harris and Jennifer Castles
Allen & Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760525804.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. As Tayla says, you might not initially recognise her name, but if prompted with "Women's footy . . . kick . . . photo . . . trolls" there is probably some recollection of the furore around the dramatic image posted online, an amazing shot of footballer Tayla Harris, leg flying high as she kicked a goal. It was not the image itself, although it was an incredible shot, but what came afterwards that drew media attention, for the image became a magnet for vile trolls who wanted to demean her with threats of sexual assault. The AFLW response was to take down all comments including the original image. But that was disturbing because it meant that the trolls had gotten away with what they'd done. Tayla reposted the image in an act of defiance, and drew the support of many supporters and wellwishers. The experience led her to make a stand against online harassment, becoming a role model for girls not only in sport but in any endeavour they wish to pursue.
Tayla Harris's book More than a kick is aimed at helping young people navigate social media, but starts off by introducing Tayla herself, her life, her daily routines, her diet, the things that make her who she is. And then it goes through the experience of the trolling of her image, and what she learnt about how to handle that. She lists the things she does to stay safe, things she does to feel okay, and advice for someone who is being cyberbullied or trolled. There is a link to the site of the Doing Nothing Does Harm campaign which aims to motivate people to do something when they see or hear disrespect towards women. The book as a whole is very accessible and attractive, easy to read, with large font and lots of pictures. It can easily be recommended for 12 year olds and upwards, but is an interesting read for adults as well.
I highly recommend this book as an inspiration for young girls and a valuable resource for all school libraries.
Themes: Girls in sport, Girls' education, Self-assertion, Cyberbullying.