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Book Review: Shelly Bean the Sports Queen Plays Basketball

Shelly Bean the Sports Queen

Shelly Bean the Sports Queen Plays Basketball

Written by Shelly Boyum-Breen and Illustrated by Marieka Heinlen

was provided by the author, Shelly Boyum-Breen,

a Sponsor of Multicultural Children's Book Day.


I'm excited to participate in Multicultural Children's Book Day (MCBD) for the second time. Last year was a blast! The mission of MCBD is to raise awareness of the need to include children’s books that celebrate diversity on bookshelves at home and at school.

Last year I was matched with Sharon Robinson's The Hero Two Doors Down. I've always loved Jackie Robinson's story of perseverance and was interested to read more about the man behind the baseball. The Hero Two Doors Down celebrates diversity by telling the story of a real life friendship the Robinson family shared with a neighborhood family. You can read my full review here.

This year's book Shelly Bean the Sports Queen Plays Basketball is a positive book filled with diverse characters and themes that every child will enjoy.


Shelly Bean is a sporty, dirty kneed little girl with a “can-do” spirit. It might take falling down, getting hurt and getting back up but Shelly Bean is determined to learn to play new sports!

After watching an event on TV or seeing other kids in the neighborhood play, she gets it in her mind that it is her time to play and to reward herself each time she’s successful, she creates a new sports charm to put on her crown like a jewel of accomplishment.

Shelly Bean the Sports Queen is a role model for all children who demonstrates hard work and perseverance.


Shelly Bean and her friends are active kids who love to play. In this book Shelly and her friend Maya learn to play basketball.


I loved that this story includes many groups that often go underrepresented. From gender, to ability, to race, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen Plays Basketball brings a diverse group of kids together with no big hoopla about those differences. That seems simple enough, however it's not something we can always find in children's books. Often times, differences are written into the story in ways that make sure the reader is aware that they are different. You know the kind... preachy, preachy, preachy. I love that this book doesn't do that and instead focuses on the similarities and the human connection between the children.


1. Shelly Bean

We unfortunately still have people who see an active, sport loving girl as a "tomboy" often considered a negative trait. This book is crushing that idea by presenting Shelly Bean as a normal, happy girl, who simply belongs in the sporting arena. She's not there because of or even despite of her being a girl. She's there because it's what she likes to do, so SHE CAN.

2. Maya

In comes Maya. Maya is Shelly Bean's African American friend, who like Shelly Bean, likes sports. The inclusion of Maya in the story without any mention or focus on her race again sends the message that Maya simply belongs. The story focuses more on Maya as a human, rather than Maya as an African American human.; just as it should be.

3. Mason

Mason is one of Shelly Bean's friends. Shelly and Maya want to learn to play basketball. The author chose Mason as the friend who would teach them. What's so exciting about that? Well, Mason is in a wheelchair. I loved that Mason's character was selected to be the expert on basketball. Differently abled people can do more things than some people assume. Including Mason in the story as the sports expert with no mention of his wheelchair, makes him BELONG. It sends the message that Mason should be there. That there's nothing surprising about him being there, again exactly as it should be. I love that!

Shelly Bean Childrens Book #READYOURWORLD

4. Friendship

People tend to connect quickly with those who are similar to them, but if we don't make an effort to get to know those who are different from us, we miss out on the beautiful diversity in the world. This book showed how good friends can come in all genders, races, and abilities. A great concept for children to learn early.


Shelly Bean the Sports Queen Plays Basketball is a fun, quick read that everyone will enjoy. Educators and parents will appreciate the themes of perseverance, supportive friendships, and staying active and healthy. Young readers will relate to the characters and be inspired by the idea of learning new things. It even includes basketball tips for those looking to sharpen their skills!

I'm looking forward to sharing this one with the little readers in my life.



Shelly Bean The Sports Queen Coloring Page



Children’s book author, Shelly Boyum-Breen is a native of Brainerd, MN, where she grew up with aspirations of playing professional sports. She spent countless hours on the basketball court, neighborhood hockey rinks and local golf courses. Boyum-Breen received her B.A. from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN in 1997 and her MS in Leadership from Capella University in 2016. She spent five years in the education field, coaching college and high school basketball and tennis. Boyum-Breen then worked with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx organization. Shelly served with the organization for four years and later moved into a sales consulting role serving the Lynx, the New York Liberty and the 10th Anniversary WNBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden.

Before writing the Shelly Bean series, Boyum-Breen was the Founder of Foundation IX and the Let Me Play grants supporting Minnesota girls’ participation in sports and fitness. “Sports helped pave my path in life, building my character as well as my leadership skills along the way. No young lady should be prevented from experiencing these things because of her family’s financial situation. It is my dream to eliminate cost as an obstacle and give girls and boys a strong female role model. With Shelly Bean books and Let Me Play grants, we can do just that! It is an honor to work for girls in sports; and to continue the work that many have done long before me.” And don't forget to check out her new YouTube series "30 Days of Play" where she teaches kids new sports with the help of expert coaches and local children! Shelly Boyum-Breen resides in Minnesota. Follow her on Instagram and

FB @shellybeanthesportsqueen or on Twitter @sportshelly


Multicultural Children's Book Day #ReadYourWorld

This review is a part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18)

MCBD is in its fifth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom.

The mission of MCBD is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors: MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal Bowe, Gokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo, Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and MFL Publishing Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham Author Natasha Yim


We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm. Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! CHECK OUT THE PRIZES HERE


Important Links for Multicultural Children's Book Day

- Multicultural Children's Book Day Site

- Free Multicultural Books for Teachers

- Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators

- Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents

Remember to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use their official hashtag: #ReadYourWorld

Helping Kids Rise Multicultural Childrens Book Day #ReadYourWorld


Want more diverse and inclusive book ideas? Connect with us on Instagram HERE

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#weneeddiversebooks #childrensbooks #readyourworld