Sports stars are tapping into the power of literature to uplift and inspire youth. One of the latest athletes to do so is tennis phenom Naomi Osaka who recently announced she is releasing a children’s book, ESPN reported.
The picture book, titled “The Way Champs Play,” aims to teach children about the values of kindness and teamwork. It also explores how participating in sports can elevate an individual’s health and happiness. The book features vibrant illustrations—created by Kamala Nair—that are representative of children from different cultures. Osaka pulled inspiration for the book from her Play Academy program, which was launched to eradicate socio-economic barriers that stand in the way of sports participation for youth.
The four-time Grand Slam singles champion says she hopes “The Way Champs Play” empowers youth to boldly follow their dreams. “I hope this book inspires kids to chase their dreams and encourages them to believe they can do anything they put their minds to,” she shared in an Instagram post accompanied by an image of the book’s cover. A portion of the proceeds from the picture book will go toward her Play Academy initiative, which leads programs in Haiti, Japan, and Los Angeles. The Way Champs Play is slated to be released on December 6.
Osaka has been focused on expanding her impact and influence beyond the sport of tennis. In June, she announced she was creating her own media imprint—dubbed Hana Kuma—to bring diverse stories to the forefront. The book is being released through the company.
“There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform,” she shared in a statement about the launch of Hana Kuma. “We will bring stories to life with this goal in mind: to make unique perspectives feel universal and inspire people along the way.”
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