by Johnnie Christmas
Swim Team is the debut kids graphic novel from author Johnnie Christmas, and it made a splash with recognition from the National Book Award and a 2023 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Bree and her father move from Brooklyn to Florida at the start of the story, where Bree faces challenges starting a new school, making new friends, and swimming in gym class. While Bree is an excellent student, with a gift for math and solving puzzles, clever use of thought bubbles illustrate the anxiety she feels about swimming. A kind older neighbor, Miss Etta, reveals that she is a former competitive swimmer and the time she spends teaching Bree to swim unlocks new possibilities for Bree, Miss Etta, and the school swim team. Along the way, Miss Etta shares insights on the racist history that prevented Black kids from accessing pools and learning to swim. Readers will root for Bree, her team, and her community in this heartfelt underdog story.
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages.