Meet “Shelly Bean, The Sports Queen” — Book Review

Shelly Boyum Breen–the author, creator, and prototype of Shelly Bean–grew up in Brainerd, Minnesota as a girl who like to play.

Shelly Boyum Breen

Shelly Boyum Breen, image courtesy Shelly Boyum Breen

She wasn’t into reading, and she would  always chose sports books or joke books to order from the Scholastic Book Order forms. Her mom was well-rehearsed in Fozzie Bear’s Side Splitting Jokes and “wacka wacka wacka!” Shelly was never able to find a character she could relate to.   It wasn’t until she read Where the Red Fern Grows that she began to enjoy reading fiction, and she started to devour animal stories.  

As she grew, her love for sports never waned.  In fact, Shelly organized and started a nonprofit that issues grants that provide opportunities for girls to play sports more readily.  It was during this work when she discovered that books about girls playing sports was still not prevalent. 

So Shelly set out to change that. She sat down and wrote 22 books featuring Shelly Bean–the Sports Queen. Hiring Marieka Heinlen (the illustrator of the Hands are Not for Hitting series) to illustrate the stories,  Shelly launched a kickstarter campaign to self-publish her books.  

Shelly Bean, the Sports Queen

Shelly Bean, the Sports Queen, image courtesy Shelly Boyum Breen

Shelly Bean Books Include:

Shelly Bean is a kid who loves to play games and to learn something new. She and her best friend Maya or her brothers are always busy learning something.   It’s okay to not be good at something, but even when Shelly Bean falls, she keeps trying. In fact, there are tips in the back of each book that help interested kids learn how to play that particular game.



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