Facts about Simone Biles and Review of Flying High


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Want are your favorite events to watch during the Olympics? I fell in love with gymnastics at a young age. One of my sisters was very good at gymnastics when she was young and really loved watching them. It drives me crazy that they put the gymnastic competitions on so late so it has been hard to watch them with Hazel. Of course relatively new to the scene but with amazing success is Simone Biles. Today we are going to focus on Simone Biles and her life and success as well as share a new picture book about her. 

Simone Biles at the 2016 Olympics all-around gold medal podium (28262782114) cropped
Simone Biles at 2016 Olympics All-Around photo by AgĂȘncia Brasil Fotografias, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Simone Arianne Biles was born March 14, 1997 in Columbus, Ohio. Her birth mother, Shannon Biles, could not care for Simone and her three siblings. They all went into foster care. In 2000, Ron Biles, Simone's maternal grandfather, and his second wife, Nellie Biles, began to care for all four kids in Spring, Texas when he learned about them being in foster care. He and Nellie adopted the youngest two, Simone and Adria. Ron's sister adopted the oldest two, Ashley and Tevin. Ron and Nellie became mom and dad to both Simone and Adria. They also had two sons. Simone is also a citizen of Belize through her mother and considers the country her second home. 

On a rainy day, in 2003, her brother who worked at the day care center Simone and Adria attended suggested going to a gym since their field trip to a farm had to be canceled. This was Simone's introduction to gymnastics. She was six years old. She found her talent and it was noticed quickly. In 2012 she decided to switch to homeschooling so she could focus on gymnastics more. In 2016 she became the first woman to win four straight US all-around titles. She owns the most world medals in U.S. history (14 of them) and the most world championship gold medals of any female gymnast (10 of them). She competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics and won five medals--four gold and one bronze. 

Her talents are great and she has some signature moves. You can see them on this video.


Now let's get to the book. I know many teachers and parents look for books to use during Black History Month. Today's is a perfect one because I think it will interest young children--especially girls. The book is Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Ebony Glenn.

This picture book is recommended for ages 4 to 8. I would say that age group is appropriate. It is definitely good for younger children. This book shares a bit about Simone's life from foster care and being adopted to discovering gymnastics. It shares some of her disappointments and how hard work led to her success.

There are some pages at the end of the book that go into more detail about Simone. This book definitely left me wanting to know more, but I think what it shared is great for younger children to understand.

The illustrations in the book are beautiful and colorful. I feel they do a great job of sharing her life and expressions. I know this book will be a welcome addition for preschool through first or second grade libraries whether classroom or home. I hope you will check it out!