Pages and Presents: Game Changers

Do ya need a slightly cheesy gift to give a tennis-player in your life?

Who doesn’t?

If wrapping up a set of tennis balls is just too boring for you, grab a copy of Game Changers by Lesa Cline-Ransome let this picture book guide the rest of your gifts.

The picture book about Serena and Venus opens by discussing how the young girls had to sweep trash off their local tennis courts before getting a practice in. When my giftee reads this page, she will also spy the sticky note I’d placed there indicating that she can open present #1.

Which is a broom and dust pan set. Because who doesn’t need one of those.

A few pages later, when reading about how four-year-old Venus used to hit five hundred tennis balls at every practice, the lucky recipient of this gift gets to open present #2: some tennis balls (NOT five hundred because who has that much wrapping paper?)

The other two presents are a set of hair ties, to be opened after reading about how Venus and Serena would open bust out of their hairstyles, beads spilling across the court. (The person I gave this gift to definitely does not wear beads in her hair, although buying beads would be a more thematically appropriate gift).

The final present should be tickets to Wimbledon, but instead it is a picture frame in which the recipient of this prize-package can insert a photo of her own killer serve.

The gifts (especially the broom and the picture frame) are admittedly a little off-the-wall. There is a moderate chance that my tennis playing friend will simply be puzzled at the whole situation. On the other hand, perhaps she’ll get a special thrill when opening up a gift that connects with what she just read.

Plus, the book is simply gorgeous. The author’s husband is the illustrator, and he worked in collage for this text. The book itself is a celebration of powerful women, the suspense of sports, and the bond of sisterhood. I loved Jennifer Laughran’s podcast where she interviews the author, which you can listen to right here.

Jenna Vandenberg

Teacher, writer, runner, mom and wife.