A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teaches qualities of good sportsmanship and positive behaviors for athletes. For example, the athletes in the book help out their teammates, dedicate themselves to practice, try again if they make a mistake, and use kind and uplifting words.
Champs show good sportsmanship. Champs take care of their teammates. Champs protect their mental and physical health. You can learn a lot though the power of play. Girls can do anything. Sports bring people together.
Positive Role Models
The characters in the book show positive behaviors and good sportsmanship. They have fun while chasing their dreams. The book encourages passing and sharing, helping out teammates, trying again, practicing more, being kind, patient, and honest, and finishing strong. Characters also practice yoga and meditate in order to cool down and connect with their inner selves.
Athletes of all ethnicities, body types, and abilities are represented at Play Academy. The main character is a brown-skinned girl, and others who compete with her are Black, Brown, and White. One girl wears a hijab. One girl has short hair. Some athletes are in wheelchairs. Girls are portrayed playing a variety of sports, including football and other typically male-dominated sports.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Way Champs Play is tennis star Naomi Osaka's debut picture book, illustrated by artist Kamala Nair. The book is a celebration of girl athletes and the inspiring ways they play. It showcases girls from various ethnic backgrounds -- Black, Brown, and White -- and one character wears a hijab. Girls' empowerment is a major theme, and characters play a number of different sports throughout the pages, from tennis to gymnastics to football. The book concludes with an author's note from Osaka in which she explains Play Academy, the program she founded that empowers girls through sports around the world.
Is It Any Good?
Naomi Osaka's picture book is a beautifully illustrated celebration of girl athletes. The Way Champs Play empowers girls -- whether they currently play a sport or not -- to tap into their inner strength: physical, mental, and emotional. Much of the book is written as affirmations that young readers can internalize and apply to various parts of their lives. Young girls who play should be able to see themselves represented on the pages of the book, as it depicts people from many different backgrounds. Osaka is mindful about encouraging self care, and her fans who know her struggles with her mental health will appreciate the fact that she's checking in on theirs. Artist Kamala Nair's gentle and inclusive illustrations bring the book's powerful messages to life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.