The new graphic novel: “Swim Team”

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In swim teamthe new mid-level graphic novel from the award-winning comic book creator Johnny Christmas – Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new college – until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than happy. a little uncomfortable, but she is forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. With a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly discovers that her swimming-mad community is counting on her to turn around the school’s failing team. Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or has her swim team swum their last lap for good?

As well as being an entertaining and uplifting story for young readers, swim team highlights an issue in the black community that often goes unnoticed: learning to swim. Long-standing race and class issues mean that swimming pools are either absent from black communities or poorly maintained. Parents who cannot swim are less likely to have children who can swim or to encourage their children to learn. Johnnie’s inspiration for swim team is to encourage young African American children to get into the pool and learn to swim.

Johnnie Christmas is one of the New York Times best-selling graphic novelists. Best known for co-creating the Angel Catbird series with acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), he adapted William Gibson’s lost screenplay for Alien 3 in a critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name. He was nominated for the 2019 Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Cartoonist for his graphic novel, Pyromaniac. He also co-created the series Protected. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, he earned a BFA in Communication Design/Illustration.

Irene B. Bowles