Cover Reveal: SAKAMOTO’S SWIM CLUB: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory

I’ve always been thankful for teachers. Having been one, I appreciate how much dedication goes into being one – it’s not just a job…it’s more like a calling. These days, we are all giving thanks to teachers who are helping kids adjust to new ways of learning. And today’s post is about a particular teacher who inspired kids to dream and who helped them build that dream into a reality. It’s a COVER REVEAL FOR:

SAKAMOTO’S SWIM CLUB: How A Teacher Led An Unlikely Team to Victory

Written by Julie Abery

Illustrated by Chris Sasaki

Published by Kids Can Press (May 4, 2021)

The book has already been named a JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION for 2021 in the Sports Elementary Plus category, and here’s a little bit about the book from the blurb on Goodreads (where you can go to put it on your ‘Want-to-Read’ list:

The inspirational and little-known story of a dedicated teacher who coached Hawaiian swimmers all the way to the Olympics, beautifully told in simple rhyme.

When the children of workers on a 1930s Maui sugar plantation were chased away from playing in the nearby irrigation ditches, local science teacher Soichi Sakamoto had an idea. He offered to take responsibility for the children — and then he began training them how to swim. Using his science background, Sakamoto devised his own innovative coaching techniques: he developed a strict practice regime for the kids, building their strength and endurance by using the ditch water’s natural current. The children worked hard under the dedicated Sakamoto’s guidance, and their skills improved. They formed a swim club and began to dominate in swimming events around the world. And then one day, the proud Sakamoto saw an impossible dream come true — Olympic gold!

In a unique approach that makes for a moving read-aloud, Julie Abery uses limited rhyming text to tell the little-known story of Coach Sakamoto and the Three-Year Swim Club. The stunning art of award-winning and highly acclaimed Chris Sasaki perfectly complements the lyrical storytelling. This inspiring picture book offers excellent lessons in perseverance, believing in yourself and not letting others define you, while wonderfully capturing h
ow one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. An author’s note with photos and more information tell the fuller story of Soichi Sakamoto and his Three-Year Swim Club.

I’m SO excited about this book…it’s written by a dear friend, Storm sister, and critique buddy, Julie Abery, one of my long-time judges for #50PreciousWords and the author of the award-winning Little Animals Friends Series, including LITTLE TIGER, LITTLE PANDA, LITTLE MONKEY, and LITTLE HIPPO with more coming in 2021! And the illustrator is award-winning Chris Sasaki who gave this amazing interview about four years ago:

As a lover of nonfiction picture books, I’m a huge fan of SAKAMOTO’S SWIM CLUB – and I am excited to get my copy. The book is available for PRE-ORDER and launches on May 4, 2021! And please remember that the best way to help our favorite authors and illustrators is to review their books, buy their books, tell friends about their books, and ask local libraries to purchase copies for their collection.

I hope everyone has a great week! Please take care and stay safe. And make sure to come back on Friday for our Perfect Picture Book – another new book that is launching January 26: OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND THE GREEN BOOK by Keila Dawson.

10 thoughts on “Cover Reveal: SAKAMOTO’S SWIM CLUB: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory

  1. Congratulations on getting this wonderful story published–in rhyme! I bet that seemed almost as big a challenge as swimming to the Olympics!


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