Change the Game

Scholastic/Graphix. Mar. 2023. 144p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781338789652.
Gr 8 Up–In a town where young Colin Kaepernick is known as a starting pitcher, everyone seems to have Colin’s life after graduation plotted out: Major League Baseball. The lack of understanding and empathy from his white adoptive parents, coupled with the uncertainty around how he wants to proceed after high school, leaves Colin feeling reflective. Keeping a level head, he chooses to focus on his own reaction to the things around him that he can’t control. Deciding to embrace what makes him feel good and the people who build him up, he begins to try new things and to spend time with those who have his best interest in mind. In this coming-of-age graphic memoir, Kaepernick (writing in collaboration with Ewing) highlights tribulations in his life related to racism, from classmates using racial slurs in the halls to booster club parents comparing Black athletes to animals and beasts. Typical high school experiences such as first crushes, school dances, and the fear of life after graduation are presented as well. With engaging, multi-layered, dynamic spreads throughout, Caicedo brings Kaepernick’s story to life on the page with vibrant colors and exciting sports action. Each page offers a fresh layout, and the illustrations set the tone of each scene through color and contrast. Fans of professional football and Kaepernick will especially enjoy this work.
VERDICT This graphic memoir belongs on library shelves for teen readers who are interested in activism or sports.

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