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Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  444 ratings  ·  105 reviews
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 wor ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  444 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Aug 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Engaging picture book biography for young readers. I would have liked a bit more about Nadia's personality and unique talent -- what was it was that made her so truly outstanding at gymnastics? But, for the target audience, I think it's spot-on, covering her journey from a wild child who swung from tree branches and once climbed (and toppled) the family Christmas tree, to an Olympic champion and the first ever gymnast to earn a perfect score of 10. I appreciate that it shows that traits that may ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Gymnasts / Readers Looking for Engaging Picture-Book Sports Biographies
Growing up in the small Romanian town of Onești, Nadia Comaneci could not sit still. Always active, always full of energy, she was a handful. Then her mother enrolled her in gymnastics classes, and the rest (as they say) is history. The first Olympic gymnast to win a perfect 10, in the 1976 Montreal games, Comeneci became a sporting icon.

As a child in the United States, I was very much aware of Nadia Comaneci and her story, having watched a made-for-tv biographical film about her as a girl. It w
An interesting biography about the famous gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Fun and lively illustrations accompany the text that shows Nadia's determination to improve and her impressive seven perfect scores in the 1976 Olympic Games. I was left wanting more.

There could be plenty of curriculum tie-ins/collaborative conversations about this book.
*overcoming adversity
*turning a weakness into a strength
*her defection from Romania/communism and the history of her homeland
Jul 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This is a nice picture book about the Romanian gymnast who was the first to get a perfect 10 score at the Olympics. My kids really enjoyed the story and the illustrations.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
I've had lots of opportunities to visit our local libraries lately, and I've been reading quite a few picture books, especially ones about women, since it's Women's History Month. I saw this book displayed and knew I just had to read it.

I must admit that I learned quite a bit about Nadia Comaneci from reading this picture book, even though I was fairly aware of her career in gymnastics. I was five years old when the Montreal Olympics were held and I am pretty sure that our family watched them.

Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nice picture book about Nadia Comăneci whom I remember when I was a kid, winning perfect 10s at the Olympics. Her did describe her as a child who had trouble sitting still. She becomes a young member of the Romanian Olympic team and an Olympic star at 14. A very nice book, especially with many young girls interested in gymnastics right now. Nice memories for me!
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a great book to introduce kids to the wonderful Nadia! It has a good written story with cues that can launch discussions (such as the inclusion of the competition when we see Nadia failing but going forward nonetheless). The illustrations are clean and good in suggesting movement. The text has a nice flow and can keep you engaged.
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A picture book bio of Nadia Comaneci, a young Romanian gymnast, who was the first ever Olympian to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics.

I think this will appeal to young readers because:
- it shows how she took her weakness (not being able to stay still) and made it her strength
- it shows when she failed miserably but did not give up
- good sportsmanship
- the buzz about gymnastics from this year's Olympics

Further areas for teachers/students to explore:
- the concept of defecting from a count
I hope everyone is buckled in for the Year of Simone Biles - but in the meantime, let's celebrate the first gymnastics superstar: Nadia Comeneci, who in 1976 earned the first ever perfect scores at the Montreal Olympics. She was everywhere - on every magazine cover, in the toy stores, Robin Williams did an impression of her, heck they even changed the name of the theme to The Young and the Restless to "Nadia's Theme". That piano! Those swelling strings! She was like a tiny steel toy that wound u ...more
Joanne Roberts
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cybils-nominees
Light look at Nadia's childhood to Olympic days. Interestingly presented biography with whimsical illustrations. I like how the author weaves a theme of perseverance and shows why Nadia was an important athlete. ...more
Kirsten Edwards
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this review with photos of the book and its contents here:


Nadia Comaneci stunned the world at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games when she scored seven perfect tens in gymnastics. Not only was she the first gymnast to ever score a perfect ten, she was also the youngest gold medalist in gymnastics at only 14 years old.

Her incredible feats at the Olympic Games made her world famous. She returned home to Romania (at the time under Soviet Communist rule) to b
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My kids and I have read this book over and over since getting it from the library and we all love it. Gray's succinct yet descriptive and exciting writing is perfect for telling this story to young audiences and Davenier's whimsical illustrations put life and movement into the words on the page. Being a former gymnastics coach, I enthusiastically showed three of my children (ages 4, 7, 9) the videos of Comaneci's perfect 10s in Montreal after reading the book, and even now with the heightened di ...more
Panda Incognito
This picture book biography of Nadia Comăneci focuses on her childhood and her unprecedented perfect 10 scores during the 1976 Olympics. This book will appeal to kids who are interested in gymnastics, and to anyone who is interested in sports biographies or inspiring accomplishments. However, I was somewhat disappointed in this book, because I wanted it to cover more of her story. The author's note mentions her later defection from Romania, but the picture book is just about her childhood and Ol ...more
Alicia Brommer
Just by looking at the title, what do you think this book might be about? (Have the rest of the book covered by paper with just the title showing.) Let's take a look at the whole cover. Now what do you think? Does the picture change your idea? Have you ever gotten in trouble for not being able to sit still? (Students give answers.) Well, the title of the book tells us that Nadia has hard time with that, too. Let's see what happens to her.

Opening Moves:
*Prompt predictions based on the t
Ashley Marx
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading "Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still, I quickly knew that I have found a new favorite. When I was younger, I was a gymnast and always wanted to find books about gymnastics. However, I found that there were a few books about this topic. After finding this book, I wish I would have discovered it when I was little. Another aspect of this book that I liked is that even though Nadia fell at the Junior Championship games, she continued to practice. ...more
FM Family
I thought this book was great. And my 2.5 year old loves it, even though she's never shown any real interest in gymnastics. We read it every night for a week and then looked up Nadia's routines on youtube. Great story of a kid doing something out of the ordinary and persevering through some challenges as she first learned how to do gymnastics. Nadia as a lovable kid full of energy and pragmatism really jumped off the pages ...more
Emily Bruns
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nadia is the inspiring, true story of a girl who learned to use her energy to become a successful gymnast. The story encourages young girls to pursue their passions. It also emphasizes the importance of pushing past failure and continuing to work hard toward goals.

This is could be used as a research source in the the primary and early intermediate grades. It could also be used for read alone time for the same ages.
Alix Kopf
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Copyright Date: 2016
Genre: Biography
Theme: Hard Work, Determination, Perseverance, Teamwork
My favorite part is when Nadia persevered and didn't give up when she didn't do well at the competition. She went from 13th place to finishing in 1st place because of all her hard work and determination. I will use this book in my classroom to teach children to never give up on their hopes and dreams and to always keep working hard.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this picture book biography about the famous gymnast Nadia Comaneci. I enjoyed the history and the fun way the author made the gymnast more relatable to young readers. I would definitely add this to my biography read alouds, especially during the Olympics or during gymnast events that are televised.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edrd-240
This book is about the famous gymnast Nadia Comaneci and her triump, resulting in her winning 7 gold medals in the Olympics. Nadia is a great role model and her story can inspire young girls to follow their dreams and to work hard at what they love in life. The illustrations are simple yet great at setting the mood for the story- inspirational and motivational.
December SIrmans
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great book for children. Even though kids often have a lot of energy the book showed that you can make lots of use of that energy like how Nadia became a really good gymnast out of it.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is an autobiography that I think would work well for 2nd or 3rd grade. An interesting feature of this book is the use of an ADHD character in literature. Nadia is a great role model for many children!
Fun illustrations and super simple biography of Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast to earn a perfect 10 in an Olympic event. This is too much for my preschoolers, but would be a fun book to use to talk about perseverance and bravery with elementary age kids.
Kaylynn Johnsen
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid
I remember watching Nadia at the Olympics. It didn't matter where she was from we were all rooting for her. The first perfect 10, the second! It was an amazing time in history. This picture book will bring back memories for the parents and introduce the kids to a remarkable athlete. ...more
Ms. Arca
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Women / girl bios are the best. And yay lots of girls also can’t sit still!

This one had fitting illustrations and told Nadia’s story and big accomplishment with a clear sweet arc. I would use it in the classroom.
Jaelynn Horton
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Biography. I loved how this book depicted Nadia simply as a girl who couldn't sit still. It humanized and normalized her. I also loved how this book depicted Nadia's successes and failures. It inspired me to go and watch the perfect 10 routine. She was good! ...more
A lovely picture book biography about Nadia Comaneci, the first woman to get a perfect 10 at the Olympics in gymnastics.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I remember hearing her name when I was younger, but reading this book was informative and I loved learning about her tenacity and perseverance.
Mia Bell
I loved this book. I enjoyed this book so much because it relates to me and my life a lot. My mom put me into gymnastics for the exact reason Nadia was, and I ended up loving it. I was a gymnast and a cheerleader from that point on. It also represents to young children to go after what you love and dream of. Children would enjoy this book a lot in my opinion, and they would enjoy the pictures too.
Jordan Roy
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not a part of my GoodReads entry but had to read! A fantastic book!
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Karlin Gray grew up as a Navy “brat”—moving every year or two. After living in ten houses and attending eight schools, Karlin moved again to Florida (where she worked on her B.A. in Creative Writing at Florida State University), Virginia (where she worked for newspaper publishers), New York (where she worked for book publishers), and Connecticut (where she works now as a mom and picture-book write ...more

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