Two Female Skateboarders Create "Girls Just Rip!" Children's Book - We Love it!

Monday, June 28, 2021

"My hope is that girls of many backgrounds see their potential in whatever or wherever their interests lie.  I want little girls of all shapes, colors and sizes to feel confident in pursuing their dreams.  Whether it be ripping it up with boys, quietly being creative or outlandishly aggressive.  Girls need to know it's ALL okay! "

~ Author, Julie Goforth

OG skateboarder and elementary school teacher Julie Goforth fulfilled a long time dream during the pandemic by writing a children's book, something she had always wanted to do. Working with her  pal and illustrator (and surfer/skater!), Kristi Sanders. the book is aptly titled, "Girls Just Rip". The story is positive and motivating, the illustrations are beautiful and many of the inspiring characters are loosely based on people Julie skates with weekly. How rad is that?


This is a young girls empowerment book. (Includes some boys too!) Full of strong young girls of many backgrounds and cultures doing the wonderful things girls are capable of doing. From engaging in dare devil extreme sports to simply spending time in the park writing. And to the artistic and creative ventures that ALL girls can participate in and everything in between. This is a book that rhymes and has a reading pattern that is helpful when learning how to read. The phonemic awareness in this story is key for beginning readers. Young readers will find themselves admiring the wonderful art and paintings. Chanting out and chorally reading the words that rhyme as they explore their own talents and strengths from within. ~ Author, Julie Goforth

 We decided an interview with these two amazing ladies was in order.

GN4LW:  What made you two decide to put together a super fun and motivating children's book?

Julie:  Writing a children's read aloud has always been one of those bucket list things for me.  As an elementary school teacher for several years my favorite part of the school day has always been storytelling or read alouds, especially the ones that engage the class.  During the pandemic shut down I spent a lot of time playing guitar.  Originally I thought I was just writing some silly little girl power song, but quickly realized it would make a much better kid's story.  It was a perfect time to do something fun and creative.  Not to mention extremely relevant at this time.


Kristi Sanders ripping on a ramp ~ Photo Tim Hardy


Kristi: I enjoy all three; skate, surf and design.  The day I stepped foot on a skateboard in the late 90’s I never stopped. Until recently (I’m currently recovering from a broken leg), I was rolling several times a week. In some respects skating has been a North Star for me. Some of my closest friendships were founded from a shared love of skating and this shared love of skating has afforded some incredible travel opportunities and life experiences including the unique experience of volunteering with the organization SkatePAL in Palestine. Of course I don’t have to tell YOU how skating leaves an imprint on life.  

While surfing hasn’t been my North Star the way skating has been, it isn’t any less enjoyable. I started surfing when I moved to Dana Point in 2008. Doheny State Beach is only two blocks from my house, and it felt like an incredible waste of an opportunity (and proximity) not to give surfing a try. Surfing proved to be the perfect Yin to the skate Yang. I loved it!

As for design, its newer to me. I’ve always painted, but illustration is something I’m learning more about and really excited to experiment with. When Julie asked if I would be interested in illustrating the book, I was not only honored, but was excited to play with illustration.  
Julie Goforth ~ ripping a backyard pool


GN4LW: Julie, you are an avid skater - how did that figure into the characters you developed - are some based on skate friends?

Julie: Girls/women skaters are so brave, creative, strong and supportive of one another.  I have met so many amazing skaters, young and old who  definitely influenced my vision for almost each piece of art created by Kristi.  I really wanted to include all kinds of girls, not just the "Rippers" but a representation of many girls with many interests.



GN4LW: Kristi, You already had a background in surf and skate - did that make it easier to interpret Julie's vision? 

Kristi: Yes, I think the background in surf and skate among other (sub) cultural interests like music and art helped in interpreting Julie’s vision. 
GN4LW: Julie, what is the message you'd like girls to get from this book?

Julie:  My hope is that girls of many backgrounds see their potential in whatever or wherever their interests lie.  I want little girls of all shapes, colors and sizes to feel confident in pursuing their dreams.  Whether it be ripping it up with boys, quietly being creative or outlandishly aggressive.  Girls need to know it's ALL okay!

GN4LW: Kristi, The colors and designs are amazing and jump off the page -was there a lot of discussion with Julie)beforehand about that or do you get the story line and just go for it?
Kristi: Thank you Cindy for the compliment on the colors and design! Julie had some great visual ideas in mind for some of the storyline and I had a blast creating what she envisioned for those pages.  On the other hand she trusted me with creating most of the illustrations from her storyline, which is what made this project so enjoyable. Thank you, Julie! Her inspiring words and story prompted so many colorful visuals.
Author Julie Goforth with her new children's' book


GN4LW: Julie, can you talk about your background as a skateboarder and also a teacher?

Julie:  I started skating on my knee when I was about 3 or 4.  I had a Black Knight with clay wheels.  Put it up for a while and I started surfing.  Eventually skateboarding came back on the scene and was an extension of  surfing.  I grew up in Naples, Long Beach, Ca and carved down bridges, hit the bank on Bayshore and spent many hours working on 360's, hippie jumps, nose wheelies etc... out in front of the house.  I started teaching when I was 22.  I have spent most of my time with the primary grade levels as well as working with spec. ed. students.  And yes, I often run into students or ex-students at the skatepark!!  

Kristi, I understand that the  artwork is all paintings rather than doing page illustrations - how did you decide on working in that medium?

Kristi: I adore painting. It brings me a sort of peace and has become a daily ritual practice similar to meditation.  Since I’m new to illustration and more seasoned in painting, I felt confident that painting the pages would produce the most vivid colors for the book.  

GN4LW: Kristi, will those pieces of artwork be for sale at some point? 

Kristi: Yes Cindy, all the paintings created for the book will be released for purchase on my website ( once "Girls Just Rip” has been published.
 GN4LW Julie, how did you meet and decide to work with your illustrator, Kristi Sanders?

Julie: I met Kristi through a mutual ripper friend, Amy Bradshaw.  We had skated and chatted it up a few different times.  I knew she painted and I asked if she would be interested in doing this project.  She liked the topic and idea and said she would be willing to give it a shot.  She showed me a sample and it was beautiful and exactly what I was wanting in terms of color and action.  After 28 years of reading to kids, I know what kind of pictures, or illustrations that the kids are mesmerized by.  The books with pictures that the kids say "wait,wait!! Go back, what was that? I didn't see......When I saw her sample it brought tears to my eyes.  One of those "meant to be" moments.  I knew this was going to have to happen!!

GN4LW: How did you decide on the (rad!) title for the book?

Julie:  The title came from what I thought was the chorus to a song.  The title is sort of like an answer to the question Why? .....Why? Because......Girls Just Rip!!  Duh!! haha

GN4LW: Kristi, What was your favorite part of this collaboration?

Kristi: My favorite part was working with Julie, a like-minded creative who allowed complete artistic freedom with her inspiring book of encouragement to young Girls. Also, our creative meet-ups were at skateparks. How great is it to discuss  "Girls Just Rip”  creative concepts between skate-runs through the park?? 
Quinne Daniels with the new book ~ Photo Julie Daniels


GN4LW: Kristi, what do you hope girls get out of reading this book?
Julie: I really think any age will enjoy the rhyme scheme and all but I would say ages 4-7 is a good age.  Rhyming is a foundational reading skill.  Repetition and rhyme are great ways of engaging kids in reading.  They know what makes sense, they begin to hear the rhyme and use pictures for context clues and join in on the reading.  This is also where they can learn expression and intonation while reading.  Fun read alouds are great ways to supplement learning to read!!  As a teacher this was important to me.  Not only is the book inspirational but a tool for learning to read.

Kristi: Girls Just Rip is an empowering book, not only from the point that Girls can do anything, but because the book is about being you’re authentic self. That is the empowerment. Every page of Girls Just Rip showcases talents and interests of various girls. To me, one of the most powerful phrases in the book is; There are Girls of all kinds…Not just one...but of many kinds…of Girls who all SHINE. There are two messages here. Girls can do anything and it starts with having self assurance that they can. The “shine” comes from trusting in your unique self and your endless potential.  The second message is about appreciating the talents and uniqueness  of others.  I think the message of Girls Just Rip applies to girls and boys, children and adults alike. 
GN4LW:  Any thoughts on making this a series of children's books?
Julie:  I am thinking about a series.  I would love to do one that focuses on Boys doing whatever they want, such as fashion design, make up, hair, etc...amongst other rad things boys can do!
GN4LW: Last thoughts?
Kristi: I just wanted to add that working with Julie on this book has been a delightful experience. Our mutual friend Amy (a skate legend) introduced Julie and I  at one of our group skate sessions. Julie’s empowering words in Girls Just Rip inspired the visuals that made this project easy and fun.
 Julie:  I feel blessed and grateful to be given this opportunity at such a hard and trying time for most Americans.  I just wanted to do something positive!!



GN4LW:  When and where can people find GIRLS JUST RIP?

"Girls Just Rip" is  available now through Amazon  (paperback is $12.95 and Kindle version is $4.61)

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