Speed to Glory: the Cullen Jones Story
Natalie Davis Miller
Zonderkidz
2012

As I mentioned in my review of a Dominique Dawes biography, one of the Olympic sports I really enjoy watching is the swimming. Cullen Jones is just that: an Olympic swimmer. In fact, he’s on the 2012 U.S.A. Olympic team for the upcoming London Olympics! You might consider this, then, a partial biography of Cullen Jones since his career is very much in progress.

I like what Zondervan seems to be doing in these middle grade biographies: profiling famous people who claim that their faith is important to them. If Jones’ and Dawes’ biographies are any indication, they are fairly well researched, easy to read, full of extra information on the sport (or career) in question–including nice bibliographies, and seem to cover a wide variety of interests (sports, politics, etc.). Jones, like Dawes, is now involved in reaching out to communities, trying to encourage kids to be more active physically. He is trying to use his gifts for good. He had a unique start to his swimming career (a near drowning at a water park at age 5), but once he got started swimming, he kept it up.

What I am less pleased about in these biographies is the generic quality of the faith of the person in question. There are occasional references to how much the person’s “faith” means to them, and in both Dawes’ and Jones’ backgrounds, there was frequent church attendance, perhaps mention of a conversion experience, and parents who seemed to place a priority on going to church. But there was no mention of Christ nor much text devoted to object of the person’s faith.

All in all, this Cullen Jones biography will be an interesting read for those kids interested in swimming (and/or professional athletes), and it will be a “safe” read and a mildly inspiring one. But it will not be terribly inspiring in terms of Christian faith.

Book is on sale now.

Thanks to Zonderkidz (via Netgalley) for the ARC of the book; cover image from Zondervan

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