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About the series and books | About the author | Early review  | Advance praise | Excerpt | Reading copy giveaway

Play Like a Girl is a celebration of Aussie girls kicking goals in the sport they love! This trailblazing new series by radio personality Jo Stanley is proudly brought to you in partnership with the AFLW.

Play Like a Girl series

About the series and books

Release: September 2017
ISBNs: Bring It On, 9781760409470 | Dream Team, 9781760409487 | Totally Epic, 9781760409494 | Smashing It, 9781760409500 | + 2 due Feb 2018
RRPs: $12.99

Jo Stanley’s Play Like a Girl is a spirited new series that weaves the ordinary world of young girls with the thrill and excitement of the AFLW. The books follow a group of young girls who play for The Flyers, the footy team of Milsborough West, a fictional inner-city suburb that lies to the west of the CBD. The Flyers are a diverse group of clever, cheeky, funny, deep thinking, strong and enthusiastic girls, all of whom love their footy, love their team, and love being fit and active.

The series begins with the coming together of The Flyers—18 girls from different schools, with varying skills and footy experience, all under the kind but eccentric leadership of their coach, Shawna McKinnon, whose team building and training methods seem weird and often hilarious to the girls. Of the 18 who join the full side, six girls bond quickly, and it’s these six girls that the series focuses on.

Each book is told from the perspective of one of the six girls, each with a very different take on footy. The books explore themes of friendships and isolation, having a sense of belonging, bullying, body image, anxiety, success and failure, and family expectation, with a few annoying brothers thrown in. These girls are navigating their way through being 11 and 12 years old and learning about self-acceptance, gratitude, awareness of others, kindness, leadership.

Play Like a Girl will appeal to fans of The Baby Sitters Club and Go Girl!

Bring It On!
Introduces us to The Flyers via Sarah, who has just moved to Milsborough West. She has never played footy before, but Hanh, a seasoned player and passionate member of The Flyers, invites Sarah to try-out for the team. Sarah agrees, hoping it will be the start of some new friendships. But learning a new sport turns out to be much harder than Sarah expected, and she needs to find some special qualities in herself before she can take to the footy field.

Dream Team!
Three weeks into the season and coach, Shawna, is about to select the team Captain for the year. Hanh desperately hopes she will be selected, however, Rainbow is also a team favourite and a possible choice. Who will be selected? And how will Hanh handle the news?

Totally Epic!
It is the last few weeks of the season, before finals begin. The Flyers have been at the top of the ladder for most of the year, and are hoping to make it the Grand Final. Rainbow is super excited to be going to her first disco—the major fundraiser for the club—and hanging out with Lucy. But things start to go wrong when Lucy’s cousin, Pina, who is visiting from another footy club, crashes their disco night and is inexplicably nasty to Rainbow.

Smashing It!
The Flyers are playing in the Semi Final. A win will see them into the Grand Final to take on the Jets, who thrashed the Flyers in the Grand Final the year before. Lucy is super excited to be heading for a re-match. But in the final quarter of the Semi Final Lucy injures her ankle and cannot finish the match. Now she is in a two week race to be fit to play in the Grand Final. Will she make it?



Jo Stanley

About the author

Jo Stanley is a comedian, writer, actor and presenter. She spent 10 years as one of Melbourne’s most loved breakfast radio entertainers on the Matt and Jo Show on Fox FM, and can now be heard on Gold 104.3’s breakfast show, Jo and Lehmo. Jo appears regularly on all networks of Australian television, on shows such as The Project, The Today Show and Studio 10. She writes for newspapers and magazines around the country, including a regular column in Sunday Life Magazine. Jo began as a stand-up comedian over 20 years ago, and so now uses those skills to bring a unique combination of outstanding professionalism and humour to her work as presenter. A self-described ‘footy tragic’ and avid Collingwood FC supporter, Play Like a Girl is Jo’s first book series.


Early review

Finally, a series about our national sport that stars girls! Jo Stanley has combined her love of footy and empowering women in the new ‘Play Like a Girl’ series, with each book to focus on a different character—her life, her friends and her footy team. Bring It On! introduces the very relatable Sarah Langdon, who has just started at a new school away from her friends and the beach. Moving is never easy, but when you can no longer surf and your new classmates are mad about footy, it’s a whole new ball game. How are you supposed to fit in when you can’t even manage a handball? This story of friendship, family and, of course, football has everything from serious competition to a farting dog. With the rise of the AFL Women’s League, this series is set to be a hit, and not just with those with an interest in sport. Best suited for middle-primary readers, Bring It On! will make its readers laugh, cheer and squirm along with Sarah’s triumphs and embarrassments as she learns to find her place in a new town.Books+Publishing


Advance praise

‘I love it! I think it’s a real winner! It’s funny and full of heart and the characters feel authentic. Love the playing cards at the back, too. It almost makes me want to play football.’—bestselling children’s author Sally Rippin

‘Jo deftly maneuvers the reader between the on-field and off-field drama of real life with her natural humour and warmth and her beautifully drawn characters who are so familiar, they already seem like the reader’s oldest friends. This series is a winner for kids who love playing footy, love watching footy, or just love seeing kids kicking goals in life.’—Tash Besliev, CEO, Bonnier Publishing Australia

Play Like a Girl is for those kids who love to get out there and play footy and for those who love to cheer on in the stands. This is a series about living the dream, and was very much inspired by those raucous cheers from kids in the stands as they watched the first ever professional women’s Aussie Rules league tear up the field last season. Jo’s pitch-perfect stories capture this excitement and deliver fun, funny relatable characters and fast-paced and engaging stories for middle-grade readers.’—Niki Horin, Publishing Director, Five Mile

‘Whether the reader is dyed-in-the-wool footy mad or taking a passing interest, Play Like a Girl‘s stories of friendship, family, school life, identity building and the push and pull of fitting in are relatable to any tween.’—Samone Bos, Commissioning Editor, Five Mile


Reader a teaser chapter from Bring It On! here.


Reading copy giveaway

For your chance to receive one of 20 advance reading copies of Play Like a Girl, email The first 20 people to respond will win a book from the series.




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

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