I would say these two books would be great Holiday presents, and they are, but since it is December 24, they will not make it in time (unless your local independent together bookstore has them). Therefore, when you get your gift cards to that same store, you can go and look for them instead.
Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles by Michelle Meadows and Ebony Glenn doing illustrations. The only reason I am giving this a four and not a five is I wanted more. I guess I need to read a full-length biography of her now. With that said, this is a great early introduction to Simone Biles. Any kid who enjoys gymnastics would want to read. And even this big kid who has never been a big gymnastics fan, enjoyed the story (more on that in a bit). The illustrations are great, full of color and are “cute” but not overly sweet. They allow you to get a feeling of the personality and help show the lightheartedness and aspects of our main gal. The afterwards adds more about some key points in Biles’ life. Due to her life being less than perfect (living in foster care, separated from siblings, adopted by her biological grandparents), one would think even here things could be dark, but are not. The part that makes this book practically perfect is that while it is a telling of an actual person’s journey, it reads as a story of a young girl finding her place, finding what makes her happy. This allows the story to be relatable to all.
Simon at the Art Museum by Christina Soontornvat is illustrated by Christine Davenier. At first, I was not sure I was going to like this book, but by the end, I enjoyed this cozy story about art and how we see (or do not) see it. Simon is a typical kid and at first is not so sure about the museum. They see art. And more art. And more art. And the reflection pool is not for swimming. And at one point his parents decide they need to hold his hand. And by George he wants some cheesecake! But he has to see more artwork! It is not until he takes a well needed break, he looks around and see the art of the people around him and if you are really paying attention, you can find something extra special. There are fun illustrations, colorful and detailed. You can hear the voice of Simon as he travels around the museum. And you can learn wither or not he finally gets that cheesecake he has been craving!