A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Grace, Gold & Glory is the autobiography of two-time Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabrielle Douglas. It's published by a Christian publisher, and includes both scripture and Gabby's personal account of how her family's faith saw her through difficult times (including how her mother's prayers helped her recover from a serious illness as a baby). Gabby frankly discusses some tough issues, such as being homeless, her strained relationship with her father, bullies at the gym -- and her own desire to quit when gymnastics seems just too hard. But she relies on her family, her faith, and her amazing natural ability to see her through to reaching her goal. The book includes discussion questions to help readers probe more deeply into its themes.
What's the story?
Gabrielle Douglas tells the story of how she went from a homeless child to an two-time Olympic gold medalist with the help of her supportive family, Christian faith -- and of course some pretty phenomenal natural ability. There's plenty of talk about crazy gymnastics moves and competitions, but also stories that will seem familiar to any kid: Trying to make funnel cakes with her sister and completely failing, crashing on her bike and chipping her teeth, etc. Gabby bravely documents some pretty harsh stuff, too: Her mother's humiliation about being on food stamps, her strained relationship with her often-absent father, an unsupportive coach who told her she needed a nose job -- and something else every kid will recognize: Wanting to quit before she reached her goal.
Is it any good?
Readers will get what they are expecting here: An inspirational story of the talented star of the 2012 London Olympics. Though readers will at times get bogged down trying to understand the complicated rules of competitive gymnastics, Gabby's authentic voice comes through; she often sounds like a regular kid who loves junk food and hanging out with her family. She even includes conversational asides in her text, like "LOL" and "Go Mom!" Her story will have particular appeal to Christian readers, who will connect with the scripture and Gabby's devout faith.
GRACE,GOLD & GLORY celebrates strong families who sacrifice and support one another. It also encourages readers to work hard even when their goals seem impossible. Parents and teachers can also use Gabby's story to talk about important issues, ranging from bullying and poverty to setting goals and working through tough challenges. Even though readers will know how Gabby's story ends, they will find themselves holding their breath when it comes down to her final floor exercises in London.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Gabby's story teaches readers. What obstacles did she have to overcome to reach her goal? Who helped her along the way?
Was there anything that surprised you about Gabby's personal story?
"Even when you're scared -- and I truly was! -- it's always the right choice to speak up to an adult who really cares about you," Gabby advises readers when writing frankly about the bullying and isolation she experienced at one of her gyms. What do you do when you are treated badly -- or witness somebody else being bullied?
- Authors: Gabrielle Douglas, Michelle Burford
- Genre: Autobiography
- Topics: Sports and martial arts, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Zondervan
- Publication date: December 4, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 17
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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