Monday, July 16, 2012

A Winning Olympics Children's Book

Olympics Kid's Book
My children are finally big enough to understand and enjoy the Olympic Games so we are a tad Olympics-crazy at our house, as you'll see from posts over the next few weeks.

As with all our family activities, I first searched for an Olympics children's book to read with my children and learn about the Games.

Truth be told, I emailed Sleeping Bear Press and begged politely requested to review any Olympics related books they've published.

A week later G is for Gold Medal: An Olympic Alphabet arrived at my door. And boy, are we glad it did!!

G is for Gold Medal is formatted in classic Sleeping Bear Press alphabet book style: all of the letters are represented in rhyming couplet, each page has a side bar with further information related to the poem, while the illustrations contain bright colors and active scenes.

"U" is one of my favorite pages. The text says,
"U is for an underdog,
so unbelievably bold,
and an unexpected upset
to win Olympic gold."
The sidebar tells the miracle story of 1980 when a group of college-aged amateurs went up against the Soviet team, who had beaten National Hockey League all-stars the year before. Amazingly the American underdogs won the gold medal!

One of the things I love about the Olympics is that you never know what will happen! You never know which athlete's story of hard work and perseverance will shine as bright as the the gold medal he or she wins. 

G is for Gold Medal does an outstanding job of highlighting those personal stories and teaching kids (and parents, too!) Olympic history.

Another of my favorite pages is "L." The poem states,
"A long run starts letter L, 
then a launch, a leap, a landing.
A little gymnast with a large heart.
A gold medal! Outstanding!"
The sidebar tells of Mary Lou Retton who scored a perfect 10 in the 1984 Olympics. In 1984, a 9 year old little girl watched Mary Lou cartwheel her way into the history books. To me, that grow-up little girl, her name is synonymous with the Olympics!

So when I turned the page to "L" and saw Mary Lou on the balance beam wearing the quintessential American leotard I couldn't help smiling. And something deep in my heart longed to join my 5 year old daughter in the gym doing cartwheels and balance beam routines.

Ellie works with Coach Hanna (an Olympic gymnast!) at RISE gymnastics.

I'm sure we will read G is for Gold Medal several times between now and the Olympic closing ceremonies in August. I HIGHLY recommend you read the book also!

What is your favorite Olympic event? Did you dream of going to the Olympics as an athlete?

Disclosure: Thanks to Sleeping Bear Press for providing a copy of G is for Gold Medal for my review! All opinions regarding the book are my own and were not influenced by receiving a review copy.

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Carrie said...

I'm working on our Olympic plan. I'm rather looking forward to it this year.

Stephanie said...

Carrie, I also brought home some non-fiction library books about specific sports (none are as good as this one so I won't be sharing them). A few weeks ago we watched Chariots of Fire. It's really slow and the accents were difficult for my kids to understand but they persevered, which led to a good conversation about staying true to our beliefs no matter what others say. Yesterday I bought a few things at the dollar store for us to have our own Olympics. :D

Candice Moretti said...

What a great sounding book. Wonderful review too Stephanie. Thanks for sharing. Also, wonderful photo.

Jamie Oliver (@va_grown) said...

There are so many WONDERFUL stories in Olympic history to share! How fun! We have watched the Disney movie Miracle about the Lake Placid hockey team a hundred times. :) That story just can't be beat--and it's all true!

Rachel said...

I have to read that book. Mary Lou is from our home town of Fairmont, WV and went to high school with my sister. I was much younger when she went to the Olympics but I would faithfully, 'do my gold' on the railroad ties that lined our flower beds. My grandmother even bought me the Olympic team leotard to wear.

Stephanie said...

Rachel, that is awesome!! What a fun memory and now I "know" someone who knows Mary Lou. Don't think I won't be dropping THAT in a conversation. ;)

Stephanie said...

I don't think I've ever watched "Miracle." I see an Amazon purchase in my future!

Lisa said...

Oh Stephanie-- this sounds like a GREAT book! Thanks for stopping by to link-up this week...So nice to "meet" you AND get a great kids book recommendation!!!

Kirsten @ homeschool discoveries said...

Sounds like a great book! I'm looking forward to finding it and reading it to my kids!

Tulip TrueAim said...

Gymnastics are definitely my favorite. I love how the book rhymes and uses the letter theme. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

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