The Flyers Giacone book? She’s an author
The book can be ordered online at: archwaypublishing.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/838076-gabbys-got-game.
It can also be found on Amazon: amazon.com/gp/new-releases/books/3404.
A few Flyers fans already brought copies to UD Arena games earlier this month and had them signed by Giacone.
On Wednesday in Rhode Island, Giacone’s older sister Gabby — from whom the main character takes her name — showed up with a surprise.
She is a fifth-grade teacher at Latham Ridge Elementary in North Colonie, New York, and she had previously read the book to her class.
She then had her students write letters to the author, all of which she brought to the UD game and gave to Jenna.
“After the game, as we were sitting in the back of the bus on the way to the airport, a couple of my teammates went through some of the letters with me,” Giacone said. “Mariah Perez and Maliya Perry sat behind me and they read them as well.
“These letters had some of the loveliest comments and there were lots of questions from little kids about the artwork and why Gabby and her dog Roscoe did things.”
On Thursday afternoon, Giacone said she had read all the letters: “They brought me smiles and tears too. I asked a few girls to write in and say they wanted to go play basketball at recess the next day.
“And the boys responded saying they were totally okay with it and would like the girls to come play.”
She said that was exactly what she was hoping to hear:
“I wanted this book to end up in the hands of young girls AND boys. I wanted them to know that basketball isn’t just for boys. If you’re a girl, go out and compete too.
“She goes off the beaten track”
Gabby and Jenna Giacone – who are only 15 months apart – grew up in Delmar, New York, a suburb of Albany.
“We were two girls – both maybe tomboys – who loved all sports growing up,” Giacone said. “We were always on the pitch or on the pitch playing with boys. And we both chose basketball in our college careers.
A 6-foot guard, Gabby played at Northeastern and scored 1,071 points and had 688 rebounds.
Jenna is the only woman to be part of the UD program for six seasons. She is the latest of former coach Jim Jabir’s recruits. She gained an extra year because a foot injury interrupted her first season, and the following year she put on a red shirt to recuperate.
Like all other college players, she was also granted an additional year of NCAA eligibility due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college basketball over the past two seasons.
She has now played 117 games with the Flyers, scored 866 points and grabbed 280 rebounds.
She is currently eighth in the Atlantic 10 — and No. 1 on Team UD — in three-point field goal percentage (40 of 107 for 37.4%).
She’s had several big games this season, including 28 against Toledo, 21 against St. Louis and 20 against Richmond.
As they have shown for a long time, the Giacone sisters also have “game”.
Jenna said that the idea of writing a children’s book came to her “by chance” a few months ago:
“I wanted a sports book where the girl was the main character.
“If you google children’s books and basketball, a boy is the main character every time.
“It inspired me and one day I sat in front of the computer and the words flowed. Afterwards I thought maybe I would have something and I had good comments from some friends relatives, so I sent it to six publishing houses.
She said a few responded and she chose Archway Publishing.
She worked with a freelance illustrator to create the visual images that those fifth graders who wrote letters often mentioned.
UD coach Shauna Green said Giacone didn’t tell anyone she was writing a book until she finished:
“All of a sudden she said, ‘I just wrote a children’s book,’ and I was like, ‘What?’ Who will find the time to write a children’s book in the middle of the season?
“I’m really proud of her. It shows you what type of person she is. She’s always trying to do things you wouldn’t think you’d do. She goes off the beaten track.
Green recounted how Giacone is working to obtain a patent for a device she and a Flyers aide devised to free a basketball stuck between the backboard and the rim.
“She talked about getting on Shark Tank,” Green said.
“He’s kind of a mad scientist,” added Ross Bagieski, director of sports information for women’s basketball.
Gicaone laughs at such talk, but it’s also why she kept the idea for the book quiet until she got it published.
“I thought everyone would be like, ‘Oh my God! Here’s Jenna with another wild idea.’”
But she said now that many of her teammates have seen the book, they are ordering it online for their little siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins.
“This kind of spell came out of nowhere”
Giacone has been on the dean’s list at UD and already has his undergraduate degree and a master’s degree. She is now working on another.
Once the season is over, she plans to make a few appearances to present her book.
She has pledged to visit her sister’s fifth-grade class in New York and may also do a book signing in her hometown.
The Dayton Metro Library has contacted her about reading her book to children and some area schools also want her to visit.
“It brought me a lot of joy,” she admitted quietly. “Knowing that my work is in the hands of other people is pretty amazing.”
So will there be another book? Could Gabby end up in a series?
“We’ll see how it goes first. I mean, I had never thought of myself as an author before. I have always been a mathematician.
“It kind of came out of nowhere. If you had told me a few years ago that I was going to do this, I would have laughed and said “No way”.
She has now learned a lesson herself.
When it comes to writing, she also has “game”.