March 6th, 2023 (the first Monday in March this year) is World Tennis Day, and given this is Women’s History Month, today’s post is about some of the wonderful women of tennis.
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Wonderful Women of Tennis
So I used to follow tennis when I was younger, and also for a few years into adulthood. But then parenting and work and all that took priority and tennis became a ‘headline’ thing, where I mostly looked at who won the Grand Slam events and such. So I have only heard of some of these players and almost know nothing of many of them (except maybe Billie Jean King and the Williams sisters in this list today). Which is why it is wonderful to have books like this that introduce us to these wonderful women of tennis and inspire us to aspire!
Bibi’s Got Game
Bibi’s Got Game: A Story about Tennis, Meditation and a Dog Named Coco written by Bianca Andreescu with Mary Beth Leatherdale and illustrated by Chelsea O’Byrne (4 – 8 years, and up)
Description: In the first picture book written by and based on real-life tennis star Bianca Andreescu, a young athlete learns how to work through life’s toughest moments through inner strength and meditation.
Written by Biance Andreescu, this book shows readers a glimpse into her life as she journeyed towards becoming a tennis star. Like Bibi, the protagonist of this book, Andreescu has faced many challenges (including peer pressure, injuries, and stress) that hampered her game and life. With the support of her family (and Coco, of course), she worked to overcome those hurdles towards success. Don’t miss the author’s note and Andreescu’s notes on meditation.
A great book for young tennis and sports fans, and for anyone really to help learn so much!
Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome with art by James E. Ransome (4 – 8 years, and up)
Description: With vibrant mixed media art, nonfiction superstars Lesa Cline-Ransome and Coretta Scott King Honor winner James E. Ransome share the inspirational story of two tennis legends who were fierce competitors on the courts, but close sisters above all.
Check out my review of this book in this earlier post – Girl Power Picture Books.
On a side note, here are a couple other books by the Ransomes I enjoyed –
I am Billie Jean King
I am Billie Jean King (Ordinary People Change the World) written by Brad Meltzer with art by Christopher Eliopoulos (5 – 9 years, and up)
Description: Billie Jean King is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Read about this amazing woman athlete in the seventeenth picture book in the New York Times bestselling series of biographies about heroes.
I have previously read other books (including the one featuring Anne Frank) in this series by Brad Meltzer and each one of these books is simply terrific, just like this one. The books have a very cool graphic novel plus comic format which is unique and helps tell the story in an appealing and interesting manner.
Like with other books in the series, this one does not shy away from the facts – the good, bad, and ugly. Billie Jean King’s fight for women in sports, her epic ‘battle of the sexes,’ her struggles, and her homosexuality, among other aspects of her life, are all included in the book. And this championship duo of Meltzer and Eliopoulos does all of it in an honest and appropriate fashion without focusing too much on any one aspect nor glossing anything over.
Playing to Win
Playing to Win: How Althea Gibson Broke Barriers and Changed Tennis Forever by Karen Deans and illustrated by Elbrite Brown (7 – 10 years, and up)
I had no idea about Althea Gibson before I picked up this book. So I was glad to learn about her from this totally informative read.
Deans approaches the issues of racism, sexism, as well as other barriers Gibson had to face, with honesty and gentleness. This helps open up discussions on these topics, while learning about and being inspired by Gibson! I know I am. And Elbrite Brown’s artwork is the perfect accompaniment to Deans’ narrative here. Read it and be inspired!
The Way Champs Play
The Way Champs Play by Naomi Osaka with art by Kamala Nair (4 – 8 years, and up)
Description: In a rhythmic celebration of sport and play, four-time Grand Slam champion and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka shares key steps to becoming a true champ, including being kind, working as a team, doing your best, and most importantly, having fun.
While this one is not a biography of Naomi, it gives insight into her thinking (about the whats and hows of being a champ). For me, the underlying message was: if we approach play like champions, we are already halfway there to being one. Or on the other hand, we are all champions in our own way!
I loved Osaka’s beautifully flowing and inspiring rhyming narrative. Nair’s vibrant and sweet illustrations that feature a diverse cast of girls playing sports are wonderful too.
- The Fastest Woman on Earth (my review is here)
- Unbeatable Betty (my review is here)
- Mamie on the Mound (my review is here)
- Yusra Swims (my review is here)
- I Am a Promise (my review is here)
- Strong is the New Pretty (my review is here)
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations for similar books for me? I welcome all your comments and suggestions as always!
For It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? at Teach Mentor Texts.