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Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still Hardcover – June 7, 2016
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—This picture book biography of Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci draws information from accounts written by Comaneci and her coach Bela Karolyi, as well as other sources, to present a somewhat idealized story of a lively little girl who became a champion. Climbing trees, roller skating, biking—Nadia is in constant movement until her mother lands upon the idea of signing her up for gymnastics lessons. Her ability at age six catches the attention of Karolyi, who, with his wife Marta, runs a gymnastics school. The text describes the dedication and years of practice that were required of Nadia, including even difficult moments, such as her 13th-place ranking at her first Romanian Junior National Championships competition. But the cheerful illustrations, rendered in ecoline and colored ink, with colored pencil accents, maintain a buoyant tone throughout. The pictures include a lot of energy, showing Nadia as upbeat and determined. If Comaneci suffered along her road to the Olympics, those details are left out. Several pages are devoted to her record-breaking performances at the 1976 Olympics. A brief afterword fills in later parts of her life, such as winning more medals at the 1980 Olympics and defecting from Romania in 1989. VERDICT Based on the popularity of gymnastics in the United States and this year's upcoming summer Olympics, this book will find a ready audience.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
"Sprightly watercolor illustrations are both strong and springy, capturing Nadia’s literal and metaphorical ups and downs as she works hard, fails, and picks herself up."
"As a sports biography, and a story of a positive female role model, this book is a perfect 10 for any library!"
—School Library Connection
"Based on the popularity of gymnastics in the United States and this year’s upcoming summer Olympics, this book will find a ready audience."
—School Library Journal
"The jaunty narrative takes readers from Comaneci’s childhood through her first Olympics with lively illustrations in ink, watercolor, and pencil."
"Poised for the 2016 Summer Games, this pays a respectful, 40th-anniversary tribute to Comaneci's soaring achievements."
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Top Customer Reviews
When her team entered the Olympics in Montreal, the competition to beat was the Russia team who had two gold medalists. The crowd went crazy when little Nadia performed. She was the first gymnast EVER to score a perfect 10.0! In fact, the scoreboard could not even record her score correctly. It was designed to score only up to 9.9. She went on to score seven perfect scores of 10.0. Winning five medals, Nadia was the youngest person to win a gold medal in gymnastics history.
Beautiful water color illustrations capture the energy and bounce of young Nadia and her teammates. After the Olympics when asked by a reporter if she had plans to retire, spunky Nadia replied, "I'm fourteen years old." In the afterword, readers learn that Nadia never did retire. She continued in gymnastics and later become a coach. Eventually she defected from Romania to the United States via passage through Hungary.
Thi is a winner of a sports story that both boys and girls will enjoy. Children will empathize with Nadia's energy and applaud her hard work and dedication to a sport she loves. Gymnastics was like breathing for Nadia; she could not live without it.
Highly, highly recommended for all collections. A real gem of a picture book biography.
Read all my YA reviews at Young Adult Books--What We're Reading Now
The illustrations are gorgeous in this book. They're loose enough to have personality and color and life. The story is simple and well written so kids can easily follow what's happening without getting lost.
My only complaint is that some of the names in the book are difficult to pronounce. I would have liked a pronunciation guide in there somewhere. Other than that, it's a wonderful book.