A true guru in the world of pole vaulting, Shawn Francis says the YA novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon might be the sport’s best novel.
“To be 100% honest,” Shawn confessed, “I don’t usually like fiction books, but this book has so much truth in it, not just from pole-vault, but from growing up being a high schooler. I burned through it in one sitting!”
Francis recently reviewed the novel on his popular Team Hoot video blog (vlog).
As a former world-class vaulter, Shawn knows a ton about the sport and cares deeply about the young people he works with at his Team Hoot instructional camps around the nation, especially those who struggle with the emotional ups and downs of adolescence.
Shawn’s trademark slogan is, “Life is meant to be experienced and curiosity will get you there.” No wonder he’s cheering for Maggie Steele, the novel’s gritty heroine. The grief-stricken high school farm girl finds healing and rises to new heights through pole-vaulting, one of the most daring sports of all.
“I don’t want to ruin it for you, but if you’re a pole vaulter or you’ve been involved in the sport at all, or any sport in general, or if you just found music or something else, this book is about finding something that helps you navigate through life and gives you some purpose and some meaning and just helps you grow into who you are.”
The novel, written by author Grant Overstake, has become a cult classic in the worldwide community of pole-vaulters. “Mr. Overstake did a great job at explaining the pole vault and the community, and the essence of the sport by putting it into a book, and he also did the same thing for growing up and navigating your way through high school, to a young adult.”
Shawn has worked with some of the best coaches in track and field. In addition to being a top performer in the sport, he coached at the Division 1 Level where he produced multiple conference champions and an All-American. At the high school level he has coached numerous state record holders. state champions and countless all-state participants through his “Team Hoot” camps and training programs.
Shawn’s trademark slogan is, “Life is meant to be experienced and curiosity will get you there.” His YouTube videos are educational and entertaining. He analyzes vault videos and cracks wise, sharing wisdom gained from experience. He says Maggie is a must-read story, for many reasons.
“This is an amazing book for anyone, and it’s extra special for pole vaulters who have been out of the sport a while… And for new vaulters who are just coming in, you can totally relate because Maggie and you are probably on the same exact wavelength and going through the same journey together, learning this sport.
“I can’t speak highly enough about this book. I think everyone should get it. If you are a coach, you should probably read this book, it’s awesome. If you’re kid, too. Everyone should get this. It’s just so good. There’s a lot of little life lessons in there and a lot of little pole vault lessons. You’ll feel good when you get done reading it. Check it out!”