Simone Biles (She Persisted)

by Kekla Magoon (Author) Gillian Flint (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: She Persisted

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger, a chapter book series about women who spoke up and rose up against the odds--including Simone Biles!

Simone Biles was raised by her grandparents and had to overcome many hardships as a child. After trying gymnastics for the first time on a field trip from elementary school, Simone continued with the sport, working hard and reaching professional levels. She persisted in the field and went on to become the most decorated US gymnast of all time.

Through it all, she inspired kids everywhere to follow their dreams. In this chapter book biography by NAACP Image Award-winning author and Coretta Scott King Honor recipient Kekla Magoon, readers learn about the amazing life of Simone Biles--and how she persisted.

Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Simone Biles's footsteps and make a difference! A perfect choice for kids who love learning and teachers who want to bring inspiring women into their curriculum.

And don't miss out on the rest of the books in the She Persisted series, featuring so many more women who persisted, including Florence Griffith Joyner, Ruby Bridges, Diana Taurasi, and more!

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School Library Journal

Gr 1-4--Magoon chronicles the early life of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. In chapter book format, readers learn of Biles's difficult childhood, starting from when she and her siblings were placed in foster care when their mother, experiencing addiction, couldn't care for them. At age four, Biles and her younger sister moved to Texas and were adopted by their grandparents. Under their loving care, Biles blossomed and began taking gymnastics at the age of six. She proved to have unparalleled talent, but it was her drive and persistence that vaulted her to the top of the gymnastics world. Written with younger readers in mind, this series offering covers difficult experiences that Biles has faced, including her mother's addiction, Biles's diagnosis of ADHD, and her and others' abuse from their former coach. While under constant scrutiny by the world, the Olympian has used her voice to help other marginalized athletes and speak out against abuse in the gymnastics world. Now that Biles has reemerged into the competitive gymnastics arena, this title is especially relevant. Includes an opening note from Clinton and an afterword telling readers how they can persist in their own lives. After reading, young readers may want to pick up other titles in the series and learn about the interesting lives of other persistent women. VERDICT Written in an accessible format for young readers, this is a great beginner biography--Michele Shaw

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Kekla Magoon
Kekla Magoon has worked with youth-serving nonprofit organizations in New York City and Chicago. She holds an MFA in writing for children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and her first novel, The Rock and the River, won the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent. She resides in New York City and you can visit her at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Philomel Books
Publication date
October 20, 2023
She Persisted
BISAC categories
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF007000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | General
JNF023000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Girls & Women
JNF039020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Performing Arts | Dance
Library of Congress categories
United States
Women gymnasts
Biles, Simone

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