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Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance Hardcover – Illustrated, November 15, 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 500 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Nineteen-year-old Biles, Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated U.S. gymnast of all time, takes readers along her journey to the podium in this memoir. After spending her early childhood in and out of foster care, Biles was adopted by her biological grandparents. She began her gymnastics training at the age of six after a field trip to Bannon's Gymnastix, where the coaches quickly discovered that she "had what it took to go all the way." Biles describes not only her gymnastics training and career but also her personal life, including her grandmother's death, the difficult decisions she made in order to balance school and gymnastics, her "bratty period" in her early teens, and her love for her car, with its zebra-print interior. In recent years, Biles has won three consecutive world championship titles followed by her team gold and individual wins at the 2016 Olympics. Biles's narration is effervescent, showing her to be, as her brother says, "a goofy and down-to-earth kid." The tone is conversational and includes casual phrases such as "if you can't already tell" and "just kidding." She expresses appreciation for her family, friends, teammates, and coaches and frequently credits God and her faith for her success. One slight caveat: readers without background knowledge about gymnastics may not find the terminology to be adequately explained. VERDICT Essential for libraries serving tween and teen gymnastics fans.—Magdalena Teske, Naperville Public Library, IL

Review

Nineteen-year-old Biles, Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated U.S. gymnast of all time, takes readers along her journey to the podium in this memoir. After spending her early childhood in and out of foster care, Biles was adopted by her biological grandparents. She began her gymnastics training at the age of six after a field trip to Bannon’s Gymnastix, where the coaches quickly discovered that she “had what it took to go all the way.” Biles describes not only her gymnastics training and career but also her personal life, including her grandmother’s death, the difficult decisions she made in order to balance school and gymnastics, her “bratty period” in her early teens, and her love for her car, with its zebra-print interior. In recent years, Biles has won three consecutive world championship titles followed by her team gold and individual wins at the 2016 Olympics. Biles’s narration is effervescent, showing her to be, as her brother says, “a goofy and down-to-earth kid.” The tone is conversational and includes casual phrases such as “if you can’t already tell” and “just kidding.” She expresses appreciation for her family, friends, teammates, and coaches and frequently credits God and her faith for her success. One slight caveat: readers without background knowledge about gymnastics may not find the terminology to be adequately explained. VERDICT Essential for libraries serving tween and teen gymnastics fans.–Magdalena Teske, Naperville Public Library, IL (School Library Journal)

Who can forget the radiant smile and inexhaustible energy of four-feet-eight, 19-year-old Simone Biles, Olympian gymnast? This inspiring and humorous memoir details how Simone, with the help and support of her family, coaches, faith, and friends, succeeded in winning five Olympic medals in 2016, four gold and a bronze. After a brief time in foster care, Simone was six when she and her younger sister were adopted by her grandparents (whom she refers to as her mom and dad). Flipping on the family trampoline and an unexpected daycare trip to the local tumbling gym sparked her love of gymnastics. Despite her rookie success, she missed being selected for the USA women’s junior team by one spot and was too young to compete in the 2012 Olympics. But success was in her future, due in part to her incredible support system---her parents even built their own gym. Simone is admirable, but it’s the unwavering support of her family and coaches that will make a lasting impact on readers. -Sharon Rawlins (Booklist)

Product details

  • Lexile Measure : 990L
  • Grade Level : 7 - 9
  • Item Weight : 16 ounces
  • Hardcover : 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0310759668
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0310759669
  • Product Dimensions : 6.38 x 0.91 x 9.29 inches
  • Publisher : Zondervan; Illustrated Edition (November 15, 2016)
  • Reading level : 13 and up
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 500 ratings
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