Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 6.08.16 Nadia

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog is to give educational professionals
new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

It was the 1984 Olympics.  I had taken a few gymnastics classes, but it was watching Mary Lou Retton that made me love gymnastics.  Unfortunately, I was better reading about it and watching it than actually doing gymnastics.  Since Mary Lou was current events, there wasn't much about her that I could read.  But then I learned about a small gymnast that helped pave the way for Mary Lou - Nadia Comaneci.  

I was excited to see a new picture book about the petite gymnast was coming out.  A new generation will be introduced to this amazing gymnast.

Nadia by Karlin Gray
Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still
written by Karlin Gray
illustrated by Christine Davenier
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The picture book focuses on the start of Nadia's career without going into a lot of detail.  If you're looking for a more comprehensive book, you can refer to some of the suggested sources in the back.  This book spotlights how Nadia was able to take her energy and channel it into something positive.  Taking the reader through her early years, attending the Karolyi's gymnastic school, we see how Nadia focused on gymnastics.  We see some early difficulties but then read about her successes at National Junior Championships and then, of course, the Olympics.  The book also talks about how she was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10.0 in Olympic competition.

The illustrations are bright and playful.  I remember seeing in photographs that she often wore ribbons in her hair.  I liked that this was included in the illustrations.  In the illustrator notes on the book jacket, Davenier talks about watching video footage while working on the artwork.  I think you can see this in the movement of the characters in the story.

Image result for nadia the girl who couldn't sit still

There are some interesting notes in the back.  There is a small mention of the dolls that Nadia collected, which would be an interesting detail to share.  There is also a quick mention in the timeline about when the International Gymnastics Federation changed the scoring, going from the perfect 10 system to scores that range from 15 to 17.  

Image result for nadia the girl who couldn't sit still

Enjoy these videos that spotlight Nadia's journey at the 1976 Olympic Games!

I'm excited to have this book in my classroom library for students to read.  I think this book will have many readers this fall after catching enthusiasm from the summer Olympics!


  1. I'm a little older than you, so I remember Nadia way before Mary Lou! ;-) I, too, was enamored by Olympics gymnastics and was never that good at it. Ha. I remember those perfect 10 Nadia moments!! Thanks for bringing this book to our attention!

  2. I didn't realize this was a nonfiction book. I haven't heard about her before.