Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams mostly focuses on the early years of the Williams sisters. It introduces us to the two girls who started learning tennis well before they hit double digits. We see how one sister followed the other, but one day would beat her big sister in the game they both loved. We are shown how these sisters are both sisters, friends and rivals all at once. And Game Changers shows the struggles of becoming not only two of the best women athletes, or two of the best black athletes, but being two of the best athletes, period.
With the text of Lesa Cline-Ransom and the illustrations by James E. Ransome, you are told of how they came out of Compton (barely as there were days they literally hit the courts as bullets flew by) and how their father paid locals to throw the worst taunts imaginable at the girls so when they were finally professionals, they would not hear a word that came from haters. Cline-Ransom tells of how they followed in the footsteps of pioneers like Althea Gibson and blazed their own trails as well. Always different, these two women are probably known for their unique style in hair and dress as much as they are known for their activism and talent as players.
Ransome’s artwork is amazing. It captures the feel of the subjects, the times and place. They are bold colors without being overpowering. They are bright and muted all at once. There is a mix of styles and forms, but his signature style comes out. They tell the story right along with the text.
I am not sure if this book will have a wide appeal, but it will be perfect for older children (and adults) who enjoy sports, sports stories, tennis or are looking for a biography of an African-American person.