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Reviewed by:
  • Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • Elizabeth Bush
Cline-Ransome, Lesa Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams; illus. by James E. Ransome. Wiseman/Simon, 2018 [42p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7684-3 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7685-0 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R 5–8 yrs

The story of record-breaking tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams has something for everyone: they’re sports superstars, civil rights champions, and fiercely loyal and hypercompetitive sisters. In this picture book biography, Cline-Ransome offers a text with the narrative density to do justice to each theme, while keeping the storytelling sufficiently compact and conversational to reach a young audience possibly unfamiliar with these legends or their game. Sometimes subtle (“It wasn’t long before their father’s dreams became their own” hints at the relationship with their demanding father) and sometimes candid (“When shots from the neighborhood’s rival gangs whizzed near the courts, the girls quickly learned to drop their racquets and lie still until the shooting stopped”), this account celebrates their amazing, uplifting career journey and hard-won success. James Ransome’s collage and mixed media illustrations individuate the sisters, and the frequent intentional contrast between brown skin tone and lighter backgrounds serves as a visual reminder of the barriers the Williamses muscled through as they reshaped the white world of tennis. An afterword follows their careers beyond the 2002 French Open (ranking Serena and Venus numbers one and two in the world), focusing on their diverse interests and activism, and end matter includes source notes, a bibliography, and a selected list of children’s books about Black champions in several sports. [End Page 422]



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p. 422
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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