Two African-American sisters become superstars in the predominantly white sport of tennis.
Venus Williams and her younger sister, Serena, grew up in Compton, outside of LA. Their father, Richard Williams, had big dreams for his girls, and they embraced the hard work of learning and perfecting their tennis games. The girls eventually became exceptionally good, winning so many junior tournaments that word spread about them. Venus turned professional at age 14 and Serena followed a year later, and they quickly moved up through the tennis rankings. The sport had few nonwhite players, and they stood out in appearance and style. “Tennis had never seen anything like them.” Cline-Ransome focuses on the sisters’ early breakthrough years, ending the story when they first reached the pinnacle of the sport and faced each other to win major championships. The lively narrative does not shy away from the difficulties they faced but focuses on their determination to succeed and their close relationship. Ransome uses cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints for pictures that are varied and energetic. The striking cover painting presents the recognizable faces that have graced many sports magazines. With an eye-catching design, the inside art is expressive and evocative, beginning with the endpapers. An afterword tells more of their story, including Venus’ struggle with an autoimmune disease and their off-court activism.
A solid introduction for young sports fans. (bibliography, further reading, notes) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)