Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith Book Poster Image
Inspiring autobiography by Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

Gabby experiences some injuries -- sometimes at the gym and sometimes just goofing around being a kid.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

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Kid, 11 years old March 14, 2014

Magnifecent

I think that this book is great for getting information about Gabby she is so amazing, I wish I see her(she is my inspiration)! love Lolu
Teen, 13 years old Written byMax26 November 1, 2018

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?

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