Amazing Athletes: 40 Inspiring Icons

Written By: Jean-Michel Billioud

Illustrated by: Gonoh

For Ages: 7 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Sports, Feminism, History, Activism, Indigenous Voices, Global Community, Paralympics, Olympics.


This is another book in the same series of another book I shared a couple of weeks ago, Black Music Greats. You know I’m a sucker for compilation books, and I love how this series is laid out. Although I am not the sportiest of humans, I enjoyed learning about unfamiliar individuals like the incredible swimmer Trischa Zorn, who competed in 7 consecutive Paralympic Games from age 16-40, becoming the most decorated swimmer with more than 50 medals.

Also inside the book are names we’ve heard before (like Jesse Owens), and get to celebrate their achievements again! I learned about Aboriginal runner and hero Cathy Freeman, who won two medals in track before starting a foundation to improve education for First Nations children in Australia and has also demanded an apology from the government for their removal of Indigenous children from their families (something that has happened in both American and Canada).

The setup of this book is the same as Black Music Greats, giving stats and facts in a way that is easy to remember and doesn’t feel overwhelming. It’s easy to flip through and search by sport or use the chronological timeline in the back to learn about sports through the ages. I really like how additional information is given than just athletic stats, it gives a more comprehensive look at the athlete, especially when activist efforts are highlighted!

This book was sent to us by Quarto, but all opinions are our own.

Jean-Michel Billioud

Jean-Michel Billioud studied at the Institut Fran├žais de Presse and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. He has since published a hundred non-fiction books on various themes with two obsessions: explaining things as simply as possible and rescuing from oblivion what times wants to erase. He lives in France.


Gonoh is an illustrator living in Paris!

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