ELLE Book Club
Five-time Olympic medallist Simone Biles on her most-loved books
FOUR-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, GYMNAST SIMONE BILES, 19,
SHARES THE BOOKS THAT HAVE SHAPED HER LIFE
Find Your Purpose, Master Your Path
by Matthew B James My mum gave me this self-help book a couple of years ago to guide me through different stages of my life. Right now, I’m an athlete and that’s my purpose, but if I ever wanted to take a break from gymnastics and perhaps become a university student, I could turn to this book. Even looking towards the future, one day I might be a mother myself, and then that will be my purpose and, again, this book will help me.
Wait Till Helen Comes
by Mary Downing Hahn
I didn’t have a lot of time to read when I was a kid, because I always training. But when I did, I was drawn to creepy books. This is about Helen, a ghost who died in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. She visits two young girls who now live in her house, and she makes them go to places they aren’t allowed. She’s a naughty ghost! I read more by the same author; all her books scared me.
‘RIGHT NOW, I’M AN ATHLETE AND THAT’S MY PURPOSE. BUT IF I EVER WANTED TO TAKE A BREAK FROM
GYMNASTICS AND BECOME A STUDENT, I’D TURN TO THIS BOOK’
Wake Up Happy
by Michael Strahan
Michael was an NFL Football Player who is now a morning talk-show host. I’d read this on the way to the gym and it would remind me to stay happy, stay focused and keep a positive outlook. I stay away from blogs and the news, as they aren’t positive and I don’t think they’re good for me.
The Fault In Our Stars
by John Green
This novel is about Hazel, a 16-year-old girl with cancer, who falls in love with another cancer patient called Augustus. I read this for school with my class when we were 16 – the same age as Hazel and Augustus. It’s so sad and hard to read without crying. Luckily, I cried when I was reading it alone and not in class, in front of my school friends.
Jennifer Jones Won’t Leave Me Alone
by Frieda Wishinsky and Neal Layton When I was learning to read, I’d go to my mum’s office, flip the bin upside down, sit on it and read to her. I went through a lot of the Jennifer Jones books. This one is about a little boy who is getting fed up with all the attention he’s getting from a little girl, but misses her once she’s gone.
Courage to Soar: A Body In Motion, A Life In Balance
by Simone Biles
I wanted to tell my life story. I wanted people to hear it from me and not from other sources. It’s about how my faith and my family got me to the 2016 Olympics, and how it all started with a day-care field trip [Simone was inspired after visiting a gymnastics centre at 6 years old.]