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Dec 27, 2022
In the field of realistic graphic novels for and about tweens, Swim Team rises above for a few reasons: (1) the contrast between the slowly-developing relationship with the elderly neighbor, and the fast & close friendship with a peer, (2) the real history and lived experiences of racial segregation - an age-appropriate presentation of the infuriating history explored in detail in adult non-fiction such as The Sum of Us by Heather McGee, (3) the cohesive tying-together of this history into the day-to-day life and decisions of Bree, her father, and their neighbor Etta, (4) the dynamic sports story about swimming - just right for 7th- to 8th-grade readers, and (5) the visceral depiction of intrusive, anxious thoughts as crowded, heavy speech balloons. For many young readers, this will feel similar to many other realistic stories of middle-school friendships and life in graphic novel format. To pack in a perspective on history that focuses on repairing the harm without getting bogged down is a feat to celebrate. --Erica Siskind, Children's Librarian, Rockridge Branch