Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Swim Team
by Johnnie Christmas
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: HarperAlley
Release date: May 17, 2022
ISBN: 9780063056770

Bree’s move to Florida from New York comes with all sorts of changes. Her father is working a full time job and is in a program at night to advance his career.  Fortunately, Bree immediately meets a new friend in her apartment complex along with Ms. Etta, an older woman who is happy to look out for Bree. Unfortunately, the Math Puzzles class is full, leaving only swimming.  With the help of Ms. Etta and Clara, Bree overcomes her self-doubt and becomes a leader on the Enith Brigitha Middle School swim team.

Graphic novels have a great deal of appeal for reluctant readers who sometimes have difficulty visualizing the story. The colors are vibrant and the characters are engaging.  Bree’s fear of swimming is seamlessly integrated with the history of segregation in public pools and beaches. What elevates this title is that–rather than end with the legacy of injury–Ms. Etta empowers Bree by reminding her of African American’s history of being strong swimmers.  

Middle school aged readers who are struggling to find their fit in life, friends, and school will enjoy this book.    Hand this to readers who liked Jerry Craft’s New Kid and Class Act and Svetlana Chmakova’s Berrybrook Middle School series.

Jodi Kruse

Other Nominated Titles

  • The Stonewall Riots by Archie Bongiovanni with art by A. Andrews (May 3, 2022)
  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh (February 22, 2022)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Published by

Quick Picks

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.