INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 26, 2014 – Vanessa Atler of Bakersfield, Calif., who tied for the U.S. all-around title in 1997 and won two 1998 Goodwill Games gold medals, has written her first children’s book, “Let the River Flow.” Based on Atler’s childhood as a young gymnast, the fictional story of River is about overcoming setbacks on and off the playing field, as well as striving not only to do one’s best but also to enjoy the experience.
“Being a new parent motivated me to write the book to help children understand that they must enjoy the process and experiences of a sport rather than the results,” said Atler. “Parents can use the book as a teaching tool for learning and discussing the bumpy road in the world of sports with their kids.”
Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics, said, “My family has read the book and we love River’s story and the illustrations. Vanessa has taken her gymnastics experiences and used them to create a story and character that resonate with adults and children alike.”
Illustrated by Mentol, the hardbound, 24-page book is geared for youngsters ages 5-10. Books may be purchased online for just $14.95 plus shipping through lettheriverflow.net. A discounted price is available for orders of 12 or more, which makes the book an ideal way for gym clubs to sell at the club or as a fundraiser.
Atler currently coaches gymnastics at American Kids Sports Center NW in Bakersfield.
As an elite gymnast and a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, she won five World Cup gold medals and a number of other international medals, including the 2000 Pacific Alliance Championships team gold and vault bronze; 1999 American Cup all-around bronze; the 1998 Goodwill Games vault and floor exercise gold; 1998 Pac Alliance team, vault and floor gold; and the 1997 American Cup all-around silver. She also was a member of the 1999 U.S. World Championships Team. The 1997 all-around co-champion, Atler’s national medals, by year, are: 2000 — vault silver and floor exercise bronze; 1999 vault and balance beam gold, and all-around silver; 1998 floor exercise gold and all-around and vault silver; 1997 all-around (tie) and vault gold, and uneven bars bronze; and as a junior, 1996 all-around gold and 1995 all-around and uneven bars silver. Atler also claimed the 1999 Pan American Trials all-around title.