Whenever words come to me in the middle of the night, I embrace them. I get up, grab the notepad from my nightstand, and scribble everything down fast.

For FLYING HIGH: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles, I was immersed in research about Simone’s life for several months. And one night, these words came to me: “Tip, top, trampoline, jump toward the sky, one little girl wants to fly, fly, fly.”

I love how a few lines in the middle of the night can lead to a book. Atlanta-based illustrator Ebony Glenn did an amazing job capturing Simone’s passion for gymnastics on the cover and on every page.

Here’s a photo of illustrator extraordinaire Ebony Glenn:

Here’s the Tip top trampoline spread below. From a young age, Simone was fascinated with trampolines and the feeling of flying through the air. The words “Tip, top” make me think of the joy of a child discovering a trampoline for the first time and climbing up on it.

My goal was to convey the story of the world’s greatest gymnast in an accessible way that very young children can understand – showing them how Simone Biles overcame challenges, made sacrifices, and followed her dreams with courage and grace.

In addition to celebrating Simone’s beauty and talent, I especially wanted to highlight the special connections that helped shape her life. This includes the relationship with her supportive family and her relationship with Coach Aimee Boorman – she was remarkably influential and acted as Simone’s main coach through the 2016 Olympics.

Among my favorite FLYING HIGH reviews so far:

“The story does not dwell on the negatives but emphasizes how each obstacle was overcome through family support and hard work…the rhythm of the rhyming text reflects Biles’s energy and movement. Glenn’s illustrations portray the athlete at various ages; she tumbles through the house and later perfects her competitive moves. The artwork captures the power and poise of gymnastics, as well as the emotions of each scene.”

School Library Journal

These cute 2nd graders in Ohio got an early look and gave FLYING HIGH a thumbs up. This means the world to me. I write for them (and their stuffed animals)!

I got a special treat when the hard copy of FLYING HIGH arrived on my doorstep. The hard copy emanates light. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic. But the cover definitely sparkles and shimmers! I’m grateful for all the hard work and teamwork that went into this project.

FLYING HIGH: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles will be released on December 29, 2020 by Holt/Macmillan. Ready to tumble (and fly)? Let’s go, let’s go!


For a chance to win an advance reader copy of FLYING HIGH signed by me, leave a comment by November 16. I’ll announce the randomly selected winner in my December post.

Congratulations to Sherri Delgado Preston for winning a copy of I BELIEVE I CAN from my last post.

Happy reading to all & see you next time!

Michelle Meadows

Michelle Meadows is the author of many acclaimed books for children. She loves dreaming up new projects and telling stories with heart. Connection, compassion, and family are common themes in Michelle's work. Michelle's latest books are FLYING HIGH: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles and BRAVE BALLERINA: The Story of Janet Collins. Her other books include HIBERNATION STATION, SUPER BUGS, and PIGGIES IN PAJAMAS. Michelle graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and literature. She is represented by literary agent Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Studio. Michelle grew up in Washington, D.C. She now lives near the beach in Delaware with her husband and son. To learn more about Michelle's books, visit her website:


  1. This looks like a beautiful book inside and out, Michelle! Congrats!

  2. What a striking cover, Michelle! Draws you right in. And what an inspiring book!

  3. Debra Kempf Shumaker

    Oooh, looks like a great book! Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Congratulations, Michelle! Love the “tip, top,” your rhyme and your rhythm. Exquisite pictures by Ebony too!

  5. This book looks so great! Want to read it to my twins, know my daughter especially will like it!

  6. Michelle, I love your rhyming in this amazing story of Simone!

  7. Excited to share this book with my baby cousins!

  8. I love this…thanks for sharing!

  9. I’m so excited for Flying High!!! My little gymnasts are going to love it!!

  10. Wonderful! I think Simone is one of America’s sweethearts! What an athlete! Congrats to you!

  11. Definitely looking forward to reading this book!

  12. Congratulations, Michelle! Simone’s story is so inspiring. And a sparkly cover!! Can’t wait to read it!

  13. Danielle Hammelef

    This book is beautiful! Placing this on my must read list.

  14. Nice job on a beautiful story. Beautiful book.

  15. Simone Biles! Kids are surely to love reading how she followed her dreams.

    Thank you Michelle Meadows and Ebony Glenn for this picture book creation.

  16. This book looks excellent. Looking forward to reading it!

  17. Oooh… love to hear about your inspiration….

  18. Usually ‘my middle of the night words’ are just gibberish in the morning! I love that yours turned into a beautiful book about a beautiful soul. Thanks for sharing Simone’s story and Ebony’s illustrations. 🙂

  19. Thanks, Bridget! Ha! Sometimes I end up with gibberish too.

  20. Michelle and Ebony, your team effort looks like a real winner the way you’ve told Simone’s story! Can’t wait to read the the REST of your gentle poetry and take in those beautifully soft illustrations!

  21. Thank you, Charlotte! Gentle poetry and beautifully soft illustrations – appreciate that!

  22. I can’t wait to check it out. Congratulations, Michelle!

  23. Thanks, Lenora! Enjoy the weekend!

  24. I always marveled at Simone’s talent and loved watching her in the Olympics. Thanks for sharing her story in such an engaging way.

  25. Young girls should love this book! Provides inspiration for them!

  26. My family and I are HUGE Simone Biles fans (my oldest competed in gymnastics until she graduated high school & now is a part-time coach). I can’t wait to read this book!

  27. michelle, late to the party, but huge congratulations. i love simone and how her story came to you in the middle of the night. the book looks so beautiful. are you flying high too?

    • Vijaya! Always love to hear from you any time. Thank you! Excited to share this story with kids – If I could do a backflip, I would!

  28. Looks like and amazing book and the cover is really appealing.

  29. This sounds wonderful! I would love to read this!

  30. Beautiful poetry! Congrats!

  31. Beautiful! I have to purchase this book! My kindergarten students will love it. Many of them are interested in gymnastics like Simone Biles was at their age. I can’t wait to get this book!

  32. What an amazing tribute to a great athlete!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *