An ALA Notable Book
“This lovingly crafted picture book biography centers on the incredible bond between Venus and Serena Williams…An important selection for biography and sports collections.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“Will appeal to children and sports fans of all ages.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Wife-and-husband team Cline-Ransome and Ransome celebrate tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, focusing on their formative childhoods and the way their preparation and talent fundamentally changed the game.” —The Horn Book (starred review)
“Every page is splashed with vibrant color and eye-catching patterns, and the figures of the women themselves are full of energy, speed, and tension.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“A beautifully composed biography of the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus…This is one biography that will struggle to stay on the shelf.” —School Library Connection
Venus and Serena Williams are two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Some say they’re two of the greatest athletes of all time. Before they were world famous, they were little girls with big dreams.
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.
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. Ages 4 8.