Summer is here which means school is out, vacations are being planned, and there is (hopefully) a lot more time to relax with a good book! Here are 10 books that are a must on Inside Gymnastics summer reading list!

Shannon Miller – It’s Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life 

With seven Olympic medals and nine World medals, Shannon Miller is one of the greatest gymnasts in U.S. history. She also has a law degree, is a survivor of ovarian cancer, and has a passion for helping women improve their health. In her book, Miller shares the fondest memories of her career, opens up about her post-gymnastics struggles, and details her battle with cancer. Whether you’re an athlete, the parent of an athlete, a coach—or maybe even none of the above—Miller shares wisdom and lessons we can all learn from!

Aly Raisman – Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything 

One of the greatest gymnastics memoir’s to exist is Aly Raisman’s. (Even the most knowledgeable gymnastics fans will learn something!) This book beautifully illustrates the highs and the lows of Raisman’s journey to Olympic success in London and Rio, using her own journal entries as a guide to take readers into her mind on and off the competition floor. Raisman is raw and real in her book, opening up about how the culture of USA Gymnastics and the abuse she endured, with heartfelt guidance and encouragement intertwined. The takeaway message is finding peace and happiness through difficult times and creating positive change in the world.

Olivia & Jim Karas – Confessions of a Division 1 Athlete: A Dad and Daughters Guide to Survival 

Get an inside look at the life of an NCAA All-American gymnast and the perspective of her father. From letters of intent, leotards, competitions, and coaches—this book provides honest and raw “confessions” of a shared journey. The playful dialogue between Liv and Jim is both funny and insightful—making the book a must read for all aspiring college gymnasts, their parents, and gymnastics fans!

Dominique Moceanu – Off Balance 

At 14 years of age, Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the United States first Olympic gold medal winning team in 1996 and an instant fan favorite. In her memoir, Moceanu shares the haunting memories of competitions, years of hiding injuries and pain out of retribution from her coaches, and how she hit rock bottom after a public battle with her parents. Moceanu also details an unexpected chapter in her adult life after a mysterious letter from a stranger reveals that she has a second sister—born with a physical disability and given away at birth. A multilayered memoir that transcends the world of sports, Off Balance will touch anyone who has ever dared to dream of a better life.

Robert Andrews – Champions Mental Edge: Turning Winners into Champions 

Imagine what it would be like to have your own personal GPS system that alerts you when you are straying off course with your behavior, emotions or reactions to game time events that could change performance dynamics and conserve energy vital to peak performance. Champion’s Mental Edge tales you and your team to the next level of sports performance and beyond with advice from mental training expert Robert Andrews (who has worked with numerous high level athletes including Simone Biles) about overcoming mental blocks, addressing the emotional and impact of sports related injuries, parenting athletes and building championship sports culture. This book is a must read for any athlete! 

Shawn Johnson – Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams 

No stranger to hard work and adversity, Shawn Johnson was America’s sweetheart and a heavy favorite to win the All-Around gold medal in Beijing. Bringing home the silver medal felt like the loss of a dream she’d worked for since childhood. In her book, Johnson shares a collection of experiences that she has learned valuable lessons from and details how she found satisfaction out of medals and trophies.

Claudia Miller – Shannon Miller: My Child, My Hero 

If you want to hear the story of a family working together to help a child achieve their biggest dream, this is the book for you! Claudia Miller, the mother of Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller, takes us through the journey of her daughter’s career, from the Olympic triumphs to her crushing defeats. This book is a refreshing read from a mother’s perspective! 

Kerri Strug – Landing on My Feet: A Diary of Dreams 

Best known as the gymnast who landed her vault on one foot and helped lead the U.S. team to the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Kerri Strug recounts her childhood in Tucson, her continual training, her relationship with her family and coaches, and her unparalleled Olympic experience. 

Melisa Torres – Perfect Balance Series 

Perfect Balance Gymnastics Books teach girls to be kind to each other, flexible in life, courageous, strong, and most of all, confident. The books set the reader in the world of gymnastics. The characters are relatable and have age appropriate challenges. Each book explores a major life lesson that empowers girls to understand their own inner strengths.

John Green – The Fault In Our Stars 

A classic and a must-read in honor of its 10th anniversary! There’s no better time to revisit the tale of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two tweens who meet in a cancer ward as they navigate life and love on a limited timeline! 


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