Swim Team

HarperAlley. May 2022. 256p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780063056763.
Gr 3-6–When Bree’s father takes a coding job in Florida, the two move cross-country and Bree’s world is turned upside-down. Away from her friends, in a town obsessed with the local swim teams, Bree struggles to find her safe space among the mathematics classes and clubs. The lack of space in her desired elective classes lands her in the worst possible situation: swimming class. Unable to swim and grasping for excuses to avoid class, Bree begins drowning in anxiety and self-doubt. However, when her older neighbor Etta takes an interest in teaching her how to swim, things begin to turn around for Bree. Filled with vibrant illustrations and charming characters, this title tackles themes ranging from overcoming fear and forging friendships to grappling with classism and racism as the public school swim team competes with the private school team equipped with more resources to prepare for the season. The work presents an opportunity for readers to reflect on both typical childhood issues as well as the systemic issues the United States has faced for centuries such as the lack of access to pools and resources for Black athletes. Rich with images and references to Black culture, this text will serve as a mirror and window for readers. Bree, her father, and Etta are Black.
VERDICT A fresh companion to Jerry Craft’s New Kid, this graphic novel belongs on shelves in school and libraries everywhere.

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