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.”
GRAIN VALLEY, KAN. — Folks in this iconic farming community are bursting with pride these days, because their favorite voice actress, Tavia Gilbert, has been named Best Female Narrator at this year’s Audie Awards, the highest honor in the audiobook industry!
The 22nd annual Audies Gala was held at New York City on June 1st. Awards were given in 27 categories including Audiobook of the Year. Gilbert, who brought Grain Valley to life in Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Grant Overstake, is among the greatest performers in the world of audiobooks, as selected by the Audio Publishers Association.
She won the Audie for her performance of the novel, Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson. Other nominees in the category were Robin Miles, Juliet Stevenson, Bahni Turpin, and Emma Thompson.
“Tavia Gilbert is every author’s dream performer,” said Overstake, who added, “She makes Maggie and Grain Valley’s cast of characters come to life. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does, and everybody in the business knows it, and everyone who listens to her can feel it, too.”
Tavia received a slew of positive reviews for the audiobook version of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, released in 2015 by Blackstone Audio, the nation’s largest independent audiobook distributor. Gilbert and author Grant Overstake “make a great duo” according to reviewer Kira Moody, a librarian in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Three-time Audies Award judge Susan G. Baird anointed Gilbert’s performance with superlatives such as “beautiful,” “engaging,” and “splendid,” in AudioFile magazine, which included Maggie on its list of recommended new audiobooks. Read full review at AudioFile.
With advancements in smartphone technology, the audiobook industry is growing exponentially, as more and more people are downloading books to their phones and listening as they travel. For teen athlete Katie Wright and her mom, Jennifer, the 31-mile stretch of highway between Prospect, Kentucky and Katie’s pole-vault practices at Fuzion Athletics in Shelbyville went by waaay too soon as they listened to Tavia Gilbert perform Maggie Vaults Over the Moon.
“Since my daughter was very little one of my favorite parenting memories was reading to her. We still love to share books together but sometimes struggle to find the time,” mom said. “We discovered on the long drive to practice how great it is to listen to an audiobook together.
“Gilbert’s narration really drew us into the story and characters!” Jennifer adds in her review. “Often times coming home we would stay in the car a few more minutes just to continue listening to the story. While we loved the happy ending, we were sad that the story ended and we no longer shared part of our day with Maggie together.”
Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the magical story of Maggie Steele, a gritty farm girl who rebounds after tragedy, reaching high achevement as a pole-vaulter. Kirkus Reviews calls it, “A fine young adult novel about perseverance in sports and in life.”
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Daring athletes in red, white and blue soared to new heights at the 7th Annual River Vault, held July 3-4.
A rubberized pole-vault runway and landing pad were mounted on a 125-foot by 50-foot barge moored to the river bank. The crowd went bonkers as nearly 80 athletes from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Wisconsin soared above the river.
“What an amazing weekend!” said event organizer Jeremiah Burish, Director of Sales at La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We had incredible competition, high energy, and great costumes. The vaulters rang the bell 24 times to celebrate their personal bests!”
Also cheering the competitors, in spirit, was Maggie Steele, the storybook heroine of the young adult novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. In what has become a River Vault tradition, copies of the inspiring novel were awarded to winners in each category.
“Maggie was delighted to be invited back to the only barge vault in the world,” said author Grant Overstake. “Kudos to Jeremiah and his crew for putting on another great show.” Continue reading
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Pole-vaulters will compete on a giant river barge in front of thousands of cheering spectators here at the 7th Annual River Vault, to be held July 3rd and 4th on the waters of the Mississippi River.
Event organizer Jeremiah Burish says, “Don’t miss your chance to get LARGE on a BARGE!”
“The River Vault is a big stage with great competition,” said Burish, Director of Sports Sales at the La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The great crowd, fast runway, and electric atmosphere combine to make a recipe conducive for lifetime personal bests.”
As track and field athletes prepare for regional and state championships, a national high school track coach of the year recommends the young adult novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, to help inspire them on their personal quest for greatness.
Dennis Bolt has coached at Hillsboro (KS) High School for 25 years. And during that time, hundreds of his athletes have qualified for the state track meet, including 36 state champions! Bolt’s boys’ teams have won three class 3A team titles, and his girls’ teams have won two team titles.
In recognition, Bolt was honored as the National Federation Boys Coach of the Year in 2004.
Endorsement review from Coach Dennis Bolt:
“Whether a coach or athlete, you know that sport exemplifies the trials of life.
“Only through hard work and dedication can you receive an opportunity to achieve greatness when the opportunity arises. Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Grant Overstake exemplifies how a young person finds strength and inspiration after experiencing a great personal loss. Continue reading
Just in time for track season!
Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the No. 1 ranked Athlete Girl Book at Goodreads. This uplifting story for mid-grade to adults is a great gift idea for the young athlete in your life.
Get Maggie on paperback, ebook or audiobooks at Amazon.com
Have a great season! See you over the moon!