Behold the power of women! These are the inspirational real-life stories of female superstar athletes Serena and Venus Williams, Simone Biles, Carli Lloyd, and more — role models all. For sports fans, aspiring athletes and readers of sports biographies.
Growing up in a crime-plagued, gang-infested neighborhood, Venus and Serena Williams were led to believe their environment was not a place where dreams could come true. It took a relentless determination, a burning desire to be the best, and a willingness to conquer racial barriers for them to emerge as tennis legends. Simone Biles was raised by a single mother with addiction issues, forcing her grandparents to intervene. But Simone soon discovered balance beams and gymnastics mats, setting her on a path toward Olympic greatness. Carli Lloyd, meanwhile, believed her youth soccer career was really starting to take off, only to be cut from her team. Instead of quitting the sport she loved, Carli rebuilt her confidence from the ground up, ultimately becoming one of the leaders on the World Cup Champion US Women’s Soccer team.
The athletes featured in this book met earth-shaking challenges head on, and through hard work and perseverance, went on to conquer the sports world. This collection of mini biographies, complete with first-hand content drawn from interviews, is a source of inspiration and self-empowerment for kids and sports fans of all ages.
Also included in the book: Wilma Rudolph (track and field), Mo’ne Davis (Little League baseball), Swin Cash (basketball), Elena Delle Donne (basketball), Bethany Hamilton (surfing), Ronda Rousey (mixed martial arts), and Kerri Strug (gymnastics).
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Racial taunts, Discrimination, Drugs, Alcohol
Booklist (February 15, 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 12))
Grades 3-7. In this companion to Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges in Their Youth to Become Stars (2016), the authors turn their attention to 11 more athletes, this time all woman, who also rose above adversity to become standouts in their fields. With the exception of Wilma Rudolph, the featured women are current or recent stars. Numerous quotes from interviews and primary sources lend a conversational tone to the quick, easy-to-read profiles. As students read about Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who was raised by loving grandparents after her addict mother lost custody; Grand Slam tennis champs Venus and Serena Williams, who learned to play amid gunshots in their rough Los Angeles neighborhood; and pro surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm at age 13 to a shark attack, they’ll discover that even stars have suffered from gender inequality, poverty, racism, body shaming, bulimia, bullying, self-doubt, and other relatable problems. What will inspire athletes of any ability or gender is how these women turned to help when needed and learned to accept themselves inside and out.
Kirkus Reviews (December 1, 2017)
A reader does not have to be a sports fan to be inspired by these compelling minibiographies of athletes who conquered considerable adversities to realize great achievements.Neglected by a single mother with alcohol and drug addictions, Simone Biles went to live with her grandparents and discovered balance beams and gymnastics mats, which set her on the path to Olympic glory. Serena and Venus Williams overcame racial barriers to become tennis legends. Elena Delle Donne battled Lyme disease while working to become a star WNBA player. Bethany Hamilton continued her career as a professional surfer after losing her left arm in a shark attack. The Zuckermans close with the dramatic story of gymnast Kerri Strug, who, despite a severe injury, executed a gold medal–winning performance in the 1996 Olympics that made her a national sports hero. Other athletes profiled include Mo’ne Davis, Carli Lloyd, Wilma Rudolph, Ronda Rousey, and Swin Cash. Whether it was racism, humiliation for their unique body types, or serious medical issues, all the athletes profiled overcame their imposing obstacles through fierce determination and, the Zuckermans are careful to note, with the help of coaches, counselors, mentors, and therapists. They all refused to blame others for their difficulties and accepted responsibility for their successes and setbacks, a lesson that is delivered firmly and naturally. An inspiring, empowering collection of true stories of perseverance and resolve. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
About the Author
Gregory Zuckerman is a senior writer at the Wall Street Journal, where he has been a reporter for twelve years. He pens the widely read “Heard on the Street” column and writes about hedge funds, investing, and other Wall Street topics. He is a two-time winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for coverage of the credit crisis, the demise of WorldCom, and the collapse of hedge fund Amaranth Advisors.
His website is www.gregoryzuckerman.com.
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