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With her father fighting in the Korean War, bigotry in her school, and the desire to play a “boy’s sport,” one girl struggles to find her place in the world.
Caroline Panski harbors one dream: to play ice hockey. But, as the neighborhood boys—and her mother—tell her: Boys play hockey; girls figure skate. Caroline, however, refuses to give up, and she navigates her world with determination. Knowing that her beloved father is fighting for freedom far away in Korea saddens her but also gives her strength. And when her school is integrated and she develops a crush on an African- American student, she will need strength and courage to stand up to her classmates just to be his friend. In the end, Caroline’s is a difficult and imperfect world, but one that allows for moments of triumph and friendship.
Evan L. Balkan is the author of six books of nonfiction, including The Wrath of God: Lope de Aguirre; Revolutionary of the Americas (Univ. of New Mexico Press) as well as many essays and short stories in an array of publications including Page and Spine and Cargo Literary Magazine. His screenplay Spitfire, adapted from his novel of the same name, won both the 2016 Baltimore Screenwriters Competition and a Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund Fellowship; his screenplay Children of Disobedience won the 2017 Baltimore Screenwriting Competition. He is a co-writer for the television series, Wayward Girls, which shot its pilot in fall 2017.
He holds degrees in the humanities from Towson, George Mason, and Johns Hopkins universities. He has served as a guest lecturer at Yale, Johns Hopkins, Bryn Mawr and many other institutions.
Spitfire, a Middle Grade book about a hockey-loving girl who refuses to be bullied, is Evan's first novel. Set during the Korean War, the story deals with issues surrounding family, loss, sexism, racism, and determination.