A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles' memoir Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance takes on a few tough topics, including body image, ADHD, dealing with a drug-addicted parent, foster care, adoption, the death of a grandparent, and the high-stress world of competitive gymnastics. There's a racial incident and a small fight between kids in which no one gets hurt.
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What's the story?
Before COURAGE TO SOAR: A BODY IN MOTION, A LIFE IN BALANCE came out, Simone Biles seemed like an overnight success who exploded on the scene with acrobatics that stunned the world and earned her gold medals at the Olympics. But as we learn, the story of her rise to fame and glory started with her as a scared little girl being taken away, along with her brothers and sisters, from her drug-addicted mother's home; adjusting to a new family life; and traversing the complex, high-pressure world of competitive gymnastics. Her experiences and trials, along with her Catholic faith and supportive family and friends, helped her push for gold.
Is it any good?
This bubbly, upbeat, first-person narrative gets inside the mind of a world-class gymnast in a way no interview can. In Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance, Biles describes the uncertainty and fear of living with her mother and being placed in foster care, the adjustment to living with her grandparents, how she fell in love with gymnastics, her big breaks, and her heartbreaking missteps in an endearing, distinctly teen voice. She doesn't hold back in revealing her struggle to balance normal teen emotions and desires -- to go to high school, to blow off practice -- with her drive to succeed. She also offers an interesting perspective on how her home life and Catholic faith provided foundational support for her throughout her career.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance show's the media's portrayal of female athletes. How did Simone get though her brush with negative body image?
How does Simone handle setbacks? Have you experienced a disappointing setback? What did you do to recover? Who helps you when you need support?
Simone's story shows the importance of winning and losing gracefully. How do you practice good sportsmanship?
- Authors: Simone Biles, Michelle Burford
- Genre: Sports
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Zondervan
- Publication date: November 15, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 163
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love sports and strong girls
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