Naomi Osaka is doing it again! She just announced a new picture book that’ll teach children the value of kindness and teamwork.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka never ceases to amaze us. Whether it be winning at the US Open, starting her own sports agency, becoming part-owner of a U.S. women's soccer team or being named Female Athlete of the Year, she’s no stranger to greatness. The first Black woman athlete to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Osaka was ranked by Forbes as the highest paid female athlete. Back in June, the superstar announced the start of her own media company, Hana Kuma, deriving from the Japanese word “flower bear.” Her company's mission is to tell diverse stories and create culturally centered content.
When Hana Kuma launched, Osaka shared a statement, saying, “There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform. We will bring stories to life with this goal in mind: to make unique perspectives feel universal and inspire people along the way.”
Who better to teach kids diverse practices than the Haitian-Japanese tennis star? She’s the same athlete who competed and won against Serena Williams in a Grand Slam final, calling Williams an inspiration instead of an opponent. The sportsmanship she demonstrated during that game was unmatched; it’s only right she promotes the value of kindness and teamwork with her first children’s book, The Way Champs Play. Aside from teamwork and kindness, Osaka also discusses how sports can help a person’s health and happiness. Illustrated by Kamala Nair and published through HarperCollins, the picture book will be filled with pictures of children representing all cultures. Osaka said she got the idea for her book from her Play Academy program, which she initially launched in Japan to provide grants and capacity-building training for community organizations in order to “boost girls’ access and participation in sports.” She’s since expanded this program to Haiti and Los Angeles. A portion of the book's proceeds will go towards her initiative.
Osaka hopes this picture book will “inspire kids to chase their dreams and encourage them to believe they can do anything they put their minds to.” The book is set to be released December 6th and can be the perfect holiday gift for your little reader.
We can’t wait to read it!