Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams

by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Author) James E Ransome (Illustrator)

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Venus and Serena Williams. Two peas in a pod. Best friends. Sisters.

Six days a week they awoke before the sun came up to practice their serves and returns, to learn to run faster and hit harder. They were unstoppable. At age fourteen, Venus played her first professional match. Three years later, it was Serena's turn. It wasn't easy. Some tennis fans cheered for these two fresh faces, while those who were unhappy to see two black girls competing in a nearly all-white sport booed and taunted them. But they didn't let it stop them.

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.

Kirkus Reviews

The lively narrative . . . focuses on [Venus and Serena Williams's] determination to succeed and their close relationship. Ransome uses cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints for pictures that are varied and energetic. 

Horn Book Magazine

Starred Review
Thorough back matter—including an afterword, source notes, a selected bibliography, and further reading—is appended.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 3-5--This lovingly crafted picture book biography centers on the incredible bond between Venus and Serena Williams and one of their signature accomplishments: being the first two sisters in tennis history to rank numbers one and two in the world. Beginning with their early childhood, Cline-Ransome highlights the siblings' hard work and dedication to each other and their goals. From pre-dawn practices as preschoolers in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles, to Serena's first victory over Venus in the 2002 French Open nearly 20 years later, this story of their single-minded focus and unwavering family support will inspire readers to achieve greatness regardless of the odds. The collage artwork, done in cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints, is expansive and filled with vibrant colors and emotions. Fans of tennis will be in for a treat as Cline-Ransome recounts the Williams's matches with thrilling detail. This powerful narrative will most appeal to independent readers. Back matter includes an afterword that chronicles the duo's accomplishments and challenges from 2002 to 2011. VERDICT An important selection for biography and sports collections.--Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, Oak Bluffs, MA

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Husband-and-wife team James E. and Lesa Cline-Ransome (Before She Was Harriet) offer a powerful portrayal of the sisters and tennis legends. Growing up in Los Angeles, Venus and Serena played tennis in the courts of East Compton Park, where neighborhood gunshots sometimes interrupted their practice. The book follows their move onto professional courts, where they drew attention for their raw talent and expressive styles, as well as their unfortunate treatment by some watchers, who "threatened, booed, and taunted" the sisters for their skin tone. Cline-Ransome conveys the sisters' affection and competitiveness, emphasizing how Serena remained one step behind Venus until the 2002 French Open, when "a victorious Serena stepped out of the shadow of her sister." Yet the sisters are pictured standing side-by-side for Serena's win: " 'Nothing can keep me from celebrating when my best friend wins a match, ' Venus said proudly." Ransome's sophisticated portraiture captures a likeness of the two athletes, while spreads feature playfully stylized cut-paper collage accents—visuals that enhance this tribute to sisterhood, athletics, and determination.

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

The lively narrative . . . focuses on [Venus and Serena Williams's] determination to succeed and their close relationship. Ransome uses cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints for pictures that are varied and energetic.—Kirkus Reviews
Lesa Cline-Ransome
Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of more than twenty books for young readers including the award-winning Finding Langston trilogy. Her work has received a plethora of honors, including dozens of starred reviews, NAACP Image Award nominations, a Coretta Scott King honor, the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction and a Christopher Award. Her work has been named to ALA Notable Books and Bank Street Best Children's Book lists and she lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York.

James E. Ransome's numerous accolades include a Coretta Scott King Medal, three Coretta Scott King Honors, and an NAACP Image Award. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and collaborator, writer Lesa Cline-Ransome.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781481476843
Lexile Measure
1030L
Guided Reading Level
P
Publisher
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date
July 20, 2018
Series
-
BISAC categories
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF019070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Family | Siblings
JNF007100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
JNF054120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Racket Sports
Library of Congress categories
Biographies
United States
Tennis players
Williams, Venus
Williams, Serena
African American women tennis players
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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