Prior to starting work on my research for E.F., it had been so long since I began a new nonfiction project that I’d forgotten what it’s like. And what it’s like is slow.

I’ve gotten going by poring over a pair of fact-packed, 250- to 350-page overviews of the topic, which have left me wondering how I can ever come up with a streamlined approach to such a complex subject that will not only be relevant to young audiences but also a joy to read.

Luckily, I know for a fact that it can be done, because last week I finished Karen Blumenthal’s Let Me Play — The Story of Title IX.

If ever there was a complex topic that needed to be tackled for young readers, this is it. And as I read it, I was fascinated not only by the history and backstory and personalities and ramifications of the topic at hand, but also by Blumenthal’s technical feat of selecting and paring and arranging and organizing the sprawling lot of information that the story required her to incorporate.

So, yes, E.F. is slow-going at the moment, and likely will be for some time. But I have a hard time imagining that Let Me Play was moving much faster at this point in the process, and look how it turned out.