FICTION

Serena: The Littlest Sister

illus. by Monica Ahanonu. 40p. bibliog. Page Street. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781624146947.
COPY ISBN
Gr 1–4—Superstar Serena Williams has dominated the world of tennis for so long, her name is synonymous with excellence. The audience for this book will likely already know about her power and style, but might not know her family's remarkable story. Raised in Compton, California, Serena was the youngest of five close-knit sisters. Starting out with secondhand equipment on a court they cleaned for practice, the girls were coached by their father to move fast and hit hard. They learned to always put in their best effort, and that their dedication would allow them to achieve their dreams. Venus and Serena put that passion into becoming elite tennis players, first in California, then at a tennis academy in Florida, and finally on the professional circuit. This book splits time between Serena's career and family, focusing on how her devotion to Venus allowed both to become better athletes who supported each other while being one another's fiercest competitors. Ahanonu's digital illustrations morph from a bold palette—all 90s-inspired patterns and sharp angularity reminiscent of Keith Haring—to a more sophisticated and contemporary design filled with soft pastels as the time line progresses. Each page is alive with movement, joy, and vibrance. In a market saturated with picture book biographies about Serena, the unique artwork is what makes this one notable.
VERDICT A fine addition to the growing Williams biography collection.

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