What’s Sally Reading?

New Book Award First Announced in 2021

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) and School Library Journal announced the 2023 Children & Young Adult Literary Awards winners.

First awarded in 2021, the awards, given annually, celebrate outstanding children’s and young adult books by African American authors of fiction and nonfiction in four categories: First Novelist Award, Fiction Award, Nonfiction Award, and Graphic Novel Award.

I have read (among others) the Graphic Novel Winner, Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas a full-color graphic novel.  Bree and her father move from Brooklyn, NY, to Florida for his new job.  Bree is starting middle school and wants Math Puzzles as one of her electives, but it is full – all that is left is Swim 101.  Bree cannot swim but doesn’t want to admit it.  Negative talk to herself is shown as black outlined capitals, such as “You’re going to be so embarrassed” and “It must be your fault!” 

New friends, Humberto and Clara, are upbeat and supportive.  She skips swim class, but then an older neighbor agrees to teach her.  Over time she learns to float and swim and one day the coach basically assigns everyone in class to try out for the swim team.  They race and Bree swims past all her negative thoughts and wins!  She joins Clara on the swim team.  Maybe this year they can finally win state!  It includes overcoming fears, putting in the time needed to succeed, supporting friends and teammates, and not giving up.  It is for upper elementary and early middle school ages.

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