Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Karlin Gray
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This book is the story of Nadia Comaneci, the young Romanian girl who became the first to receive a perfect ten for an Olympic gymnastics routine. Nadia was just a girl who loved to climb trees, until a gymnastics coach spotted her cartwheeling around the playground and asked her to join their gymnastics school. She was very talented, but finished in thirteenth place in her first competition. Regardless, she was determined to improve and practiced a lot. She won first place in her next competition and moved onto the Olympic games where she earned seven perfects tens. She continued practicing and performing very well, making her country proud.
The story of Nadia Comaneci is one that many be less known to young children, making this the perfect story to inform and inspire them. The messages of this story include: be yourself, practice makes perfect, and don’t give up. Christine Davenier uses line and watercolor to create the illustrations for Nadia. Motion in the illustrations is shown through pencil sketch marks. Davenier brings the focus to her illustrations by including more detail where she wants the reader to look and less detail where she doesn’t. Children will be intrigued by this story and want to pursue their dreams and never give up just like Nadia, the girl who couldn’t sit still.