Serena Williams’ first children’s book, The Adventures of Qai Qai, will be published in September 2022
First Serena Williams gave her daughter’s doll Qai Qai her own Instagram account. Now, she’s getting her own book!
On Thursday, the tennis star announced that she’s releasing her first children’s book, The Adventures of Qai Qai, with Invisible Universe, an entertainment technology company. The kids’ book is illustrated by Yesenia Moises and will be published by Feiwel and Friends on September 27, 2022.
“Storytime is such an important pillar of our bedtime routine, like so many others around the world,” Williams, 40, said in a statement about reading with her 4-year-old daughter Olympia, whom she shares with husband Alexis Ohanian, 38. (See below for art from the book shared exclusively with PEOPLE.)
“Qai Qai is a special member of our family and we hope The Adventures of Qai Qai will give others a new way to welcome Qai Qai into their own home.”
After Williams and Ohanian gave the doll to their young daughter, the two became inseparable. The couple wanted to share Qai Qai’s fun antics with the world by creating her own Instagram account in August 2018, with the help of Invisible Universe, which brought the doll to life.
Since then, Williams and Ohanian have continued to share Olympia’s toy with fans both in-person and on Instagram. (In May, Williams posed with Olympia and Qai Qai in matching pink swimsuits. “When @nike makes a swimsuit for not just @olympiaohanian but @realqaiqai too,” the athlete captioned the photo.) Qai Qai is now an Internet celebrity and a beloved doll for thousands of children
“I know one thing four years ago that was really important to us was to make sure that Olympia had a Black baby doll,” Ohanian, who teamed up with Adobe and Invisible Universe to create a free coloring book in honor of International Daughters Day, told PEOPLE in September.
“And have that be a very important first doll for her, if for no other reason than to just expose her to something that can hopefully break a cycle that we know exists,” he continued. “The Baby Doll Test has been used as an example for displaying the problems of societal discrimination and how hard-coded that gets into culture.
“Very quickly we started to see this story play out online of people who were just so enamored with this doll and were really excited to hear about the stories and adventures she was going to go on,” the Reddit co-founder added. “I think there’s a lot of people who have resonated with this idea of a really mischievous, and fun, and clever, and brave, and strong little girl doll and I’m excited to see all the places she goes and I do hope it can inspire kids – boys, girls, Black, white – all over the world to just have fun and dream.”
In The Adventures of Qai Qai, the doll teaches a young girl about “the importance of believing in herself.” The book celebrates friendship and the power of imagination.