Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena WilliamsGame Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James E. Ransome. 2018. Cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary:  Six days a week, Venus and younger sister, Serena learn how to play tennis early in the morning on a public court after sweeping off the trash. Their three older sisters lose interest in tennis but not them! With hard work and determination, the sisters slowly start to win more and more tournaments and are soon able to compete in some of the most famous ones like the Australian Open, Wimbledon, New York City’s U.S. Open, and even the Olympics.   They began to gain fame and are known as the Sister Act, ranking first and second in the world.

Comments: This is a great book to teach grit! The rags to riches story is encouraging to those who are trying to beat the odds. Readers will learn that it does not matter what your background is as long as you excel at something, are determined, and willing to work really hard.

Afterword, Source Notes, Selected Bibliography, and Further Reading sections are in the back.

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The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Frank Morrison. 2016. Watercolor.

Brief summary: Alta is a fast runner despite the many holes in her shoes who worships Wilma Rudolph and can’t wait to see her idol in a parade through the streets of Clarksville, Tennesse. Charmaine, a new girl with new tennis shoes, figures out a way all four girls could carry the large banner by mimicking the Olympic relay and “can do” attitude with teamwork.  They are thrilled to see the fastest woman in the world who won the summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy.

Comments: The author’s notes in back include a photo of Wilma Rudolph. This story is an inspiration to those who are reaching a goal and need grit. The athlete had polio as a child and kept pushing herself until she became the fastest.

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