Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith
By Kate Pavao,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Inspiring autobiography by Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Tweens and teens will learn about Gabby Douglas' life in this Christian autobiography. The book includes discussion questions that will help readers probe more deeply into the book's themes.
Gabby writes, "So many times in life, we're faced with a choice: When a task becomes super difficult, will we flip out and quit, or will we stay focused and keep fighting?" Readers, of course, will know what Gabby decides, and will feel inspired to reach their own goals. Also, Gabby talks about the importance of family and helping others -- and bravely discusses the pain that bullying can cause.
Positive Role Models
Gabby works hard to become a two-time Olympic gold medalist, but she also has problems, including being born into poverty, an often absent father, facing 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 and reach her goal.
Violence & Scariness
Gabby experiences some injuries -- sometimes at the gym and sometimes just goofing around being a kid.
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Products & Purchases
Some products mentioned, such as Vans, Chic-Fil-A, IHOP, Cheesecake Factory, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Tootsie Rolls, BGBG, Nintendo 3DS, Nissan Versa, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Letterman, Jay Leno, MTV Video Music Awards, Katherine Heigl, Nick Cannon, and other celebrities.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith 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.
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What's the Story?
In GRACE, GOLD & GLORY: MY LEAP OF FAITH, Gabrielle Douglas, an African American from Virginia, 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?
This inspirational story of the star of the 2012 London Olympics celebrates strong families who sacrifice and support one another. 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 for Christian readers, who will connect with the scripture and Gabby's devout faith.
Grace, Gold, & Glory 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
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Zondervan
- Publication date: December 4, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 17
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: December 5, 2019
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