Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Her Fearless Run by Kim Chaffee

Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon
By Kim Chaffee; Illustrated by Ellen Rooney
Page Street Kids. 2019
Grades 1 – up

In 1967, women did not run in marathons. Men thought women were not strong enough. “Women weren’t supposed to sweat,” and running for 26.2 miles would cause serious injury. In Her Fearless Run, Chaffee tells the exciting story of Kathrine Switzer and her courage to challenge the status quo to become the first woman to register, run, and finish, the Boston marathon. (She was disqualified when the officials realized she was a women)

The narrative is exciting as we read how Kathrine loved running at a young age. To her, it was magic. In college, her ability to run longer distances got her an invitation to join the men’s track team. “The team needed more runners, and Kathrine was eager to join.”  When she began classes at Syracuse University, she could train with the men, just not compete in races. The more Kathrine heard about the Boston Marathon, the more she wanted run in it.

Rooney’s vibrant, colorful full-page illustrations, rendered with mixed media collage using paint, paper, pencil, and digital media, capture the mood and tone of the story.

Back matter includes an author’s note and bibliography. Also included is a brief explanation on how five years after Kathrine’s run, in 1972, women where officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon.

A perfect book to share with all ages. Read along with The Girl Who Ran : Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon by Frances Poletti & Kristina Yee, and/or Girl Running : Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon by Anette Bay Pimentel.


  1. Looking forward to reading this. Girl Running was great!

  2. Late to the party...A great book set now on the Boston Marathon. You can also include Rescue and Jessica, by Jessica Kensky.