I love books. I love gymnastics. I especially love books about gymnastics! There are not many options when it comes to literature for gymnastics-loving little ones, but what is offered in this genre, is quality. Here are a few of my family’s favorites:
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1. Jake at Gymnastics | Rachel Isadora
“Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora’s irresistible illustrations of enthusiastic toddlers will have budding gymnasts jumping for joy.”
AGE RANGE: 2-5 years old
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS GYMNASTICS BOOK: There are several reasons Jake at Gymnastics has captured my family’s heart. First, the illustrations are fantastic. My five-year old continually comments on the “cuteness” of the tots.
Second, the simplicity of the story line portrays the everyday magic of preschool gymnastics. My three-year old joins “Jake’s Class”, by mimicking the characters’ actions in our living room. My husband, a coach, will read it to our girlies time and time again.
2. Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still | Karlin Gray
“Expert illustrations that capture the energy and fluidity of Nadia’s exuberant gymnastic routines and referential back matter round out this inspirational story of determination and overcoming adversity. A perfect 10.”
AGE RANGE: 6-9 years old
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still is MAGICAL! The world is in need of more non-fiction picture books, and Karlin Gray has served the Gymnastics community well by providing our young acrobats with a poetic account of one of gymnastics’ greats!
My youngest exclaimed, “Mom, I can’t sit still either!”.
My oldest was outraged with, what seemed like an unfair score awarded at the Olympics, followed by great excitement as the story progressed.
My husband applauded the details, the afterward, and the few points of interest even he, a lifelong gymnastics fan, didn’t know.
3. The Greatest Gymnast of All | Stuart J. Murphy
“Zoe zips and zooms around the gym. She’s on and off the mats, over and under the bar! She’s the greatest–in gymnastics and at demonstrating opposites.”
AGE RANGE: 3-7 years old
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS GYMNASTICS BOOK: The Greatest Gymnast of All is a Mathstart book (books that do more than tell stories; they teach math), offering an introduction to opposites for young readers.
My younger daughter hunts for words that rhyme and loves picking out opposites. The sentence structure and word choice are basic enough for my beginning reader to conquer and we are all fans of Bynthia Jabar’s illustrations!
NOTE: The only oddity about this book is that Zoe competes on three artistic events – floor, beam, and bars, and one rhythmic apparatus – hoop. It didn’t detract from the book and my girlies have yet to notice.
4. Kika the Upside-Down Girl | Jessica Tudos
“Join Kika, a girl who loves living upside down in a right side up world, on her unique journey to a fliptastic place. ”
AGE RANGE: 4-8 years old
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS GYMNASTICS BOOK: Jessica Tudos, a Canadian Olympian, depicts the unique emotions of a girl born with the heart of a gymnast, in search of a place that understands her upside-down habits.
My daughters love singing along with Kika’s repeated song, “Kids like me, love to be free, upside-down, filled with glee.” They also appreciate fun words found in Kika the Upside-Down Girl, such as “Swingazing”, “Somersaulticious” and “Handstanding”.
5. Tina Tumbles | Danielle Soucy Mills
“After watching gymnasts flip across the T.V. screen, Tina wants to do nothing but gymnastics at all hours of the day. But Tina learns that even a cartwheel is not as easy as it looks. She just can’t land on her feet. Now it’s time for her first gymnastics lesson. Will Tina gain the confidence she needs to complete the skill without falling?”
AGE RANGE: 4-8 years old
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS GYMNASTICS BOOK: I love that Tina Tumbles is written by a gymnastics coach! I also love the rhyming and pace of the book. But, perhaps my favorite thing, is the lessons it offers in confidence, focus, and perseverance.
NOTE: Looking for a fun present? Try Snowflake Designs coordinating Tina Tumbles leotard, doll leotard, and gymnastics book!