Nadia Comaneci was a feisty and fearless little girl who went from climbing trees in the forests of Romania to swinging into history at the 1976 Olympic Games, where she received an unprecedented seven perfect scores in gymnastics. But as readers will see in this first-ever illustrated picture book about Nadia’s journey to Olympic gold, the road from small-town girl to world-class athlete was full of many imperfect moments. 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.
I love reading true stories. This one is darling. We read about this young girl you couldn’t sit still and I was very glad to see her parents channel her energy into something positive. Do any of you have a child like this? I certainly do and often wonder where his strength will be as he uses his busy-ness for something good. We also learn about never giving up. I really really like that part. We often get embarrassed and want to hide, but Nadia does not and that takes her to the Olympics.
As a young girl growing up in Tours, France, Christine Davenier loved listening to her older sister read fairy tales aloud. But she frequently found herself wondering, What does the princess’s beautiful dress look like? or How exquisite are her jewels? Christine was left to her own imagination, for the books had few illustrations. So it comes as little surprise that today, Christine embraces her career as an illustrator. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to create the illustrations I dreamed about seeing as a child,” she says. When Christine was fourteen, she received her first box of watercolor paints, a gift from her grandmother. That was the beginning of many afternoons spent painting together in her grandmother’s garden. “My grandmother was an extraordinary woman,” Christine says. “Even though she worked in an office all her life, she was an artist through and through. She shared everything she knew about color—in painting and in life. Her wisdom and talent still inspire me today.” She has illustrated many picture books, including The Other Dog by Madeline L’Engle and The Very Fairy Princess series by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton. Christine lives in Paris, France.