Swim Team (Paperback)
May/June 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“What a fun graphic novel! I really liked the relatable moments in the book — self-doubt, relocating to a new town, starting a new school — and learned so much about swimming and segregation in the Black community. A win on so many levels!”
— Sara Rishforth, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR
“Combines wonderful characters and history to create a story that will make you want to dive right in!” JERRY CRAFT, author of the Newbery Medal–winning New Kid
A splashy, contemporary middle grade graphic novel from bestselling comics creator Johnnie Christmas!
Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.
With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.
Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap—for good?
Praise for SWIM TEAM:
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor
National Book Award Longlist
Kirkus Best Book of the Year
Harvey Award Best Children’s or Young Adult Book Nominee
“A revelation! You’ll root for Swim Team—the water is just right.” —JOHN JENNINGS, New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award–winning creator
“Swim Team is a beautiful story about trying new things. Johnnie Christmas is a fantastic storyteller and artist.” —KAZU KIBUISHI, author of Amulet
“Full of charm, heart, and pulse-pounding races. A winner!” —GENE LUEN YANG, author of American Born Chinese and Dragon Hoops
"Combines wonderful characters and history to create a story that will make you want to dive right in!" — Jerry Craft, author of the Newbery Award–winning New Kid
"A revelation! You’ll root for Swim Team—the water is just right." — John Jennings, New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award–winning creator
"Swim Team is a beautiful story about trying new things. Johnnie Christmas is a fantastic storyteller and artist." — Kazu Kibuishi, author of Amulet
"Full of charm, heart, and pulse-pounding races. A winner!" — Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese and Dragon Hoops
“This graphic novel belongs on shelves in school and libraries everywhere.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
"A powerful, knowledgeable, and pressing exploration of the intersection where swimming meets Black identity. Empowerment through swimming and swim team is well-embodied in Bree, a smart, perseverant, anxious kid who readers will embrace instantly. The friendly and familiar style of Christmas' linework pours out into some true artistry." — Booklist (starred review)
Challenging the idea that “Black people aren’t good at swimming,” this middle grade debut from Christmas (the Angel Catbird series, for adults) details segregation’s generational impact through a warmhearted story of community, Black diasporic identity, and learning, all portrayed in kinetic contemporary art. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Problem-solving through perseverance and friendship is the real win in this deeply smart and inspiring story.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This enjoyable graphic novel deals with familiar and middle-grade-appropriate themes of friendship, perseverance, and overcoming fears. The accessible illustrations add to the humorous (and sometimes serious) moments within the text." — Horn Book Magazine
Questions of belonging, ability, racial justice and who gets to swim are handled with thought and care...its nuanced storytelling and visual appeal will have outsize reach and meaning beyond this age group. — New York Times
This energetic, heartfelt graphic novel captures the joys and challenges of a sport that should be—but hasn’t always been—freely enjoyed by everyone. — Book Page