She Persisted: Simone Biles

Philomel. (She Persisted). Oct. 2023. 96p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593620663.
Gr 1-4–Magoon chronicles the early life of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. In chapter book format, readers learn of Biles’s difficult childhood, starting from when she and her siblings were placed in foster care when their mother, experiencing addiction, couldn’t care for them. At age four, Biles and her younger sister moved to Texas and were adopted by their grandparents. Under their loving care, Biles blossomed and began taking gymnastics at the age of six. She proved to have unparalleled talent, but it was her drive and persistence that vaulted her to the top of the gymnastics world. Written with younger readers in mind, this series offering covers difficult experiences that Biles has faced, including her mother’s addiction, Biles’s diagnosis of ADHD, and her and others’ abuse from their former coach. While under constant scrutiny by the world, the Olympian has used her voice to help other marginalized athletes and speak out against abuse in the gymnastics world. Now that Biles has reemerged into the competitive gymnastics arena, this title is especially relevant. Includes an opening note from Clinton and an afterword telling readers how they can persist in their own lives. After reading, young readers may want to pick up other titles in the series and learn about the interesting lives of other persistent women.
VERDICT Written in an accessible format for young readers, this is a great beginner biography

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