Run, so you don’t get caught.
Leave home, because staying is deadly.
Olympic dreams in a war-torn land.
Samia ran for joy when a child, ran for her country in the Olympics, fled Somalia knowing the dangers of “the journey” seeking a better life as her sister had.
A fictionalized account of the real young woman who was part of Somalia’s 2-person team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, happy US book birthday to this strong story of hope and determination, released earlier this year in the UK as Little Warrior !
Could you leave your family behind, for freedom?
Book info: Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid / Guiseppe Catozzella; translated by Anne Milano Appel. Penguin Press, 2016. [author site – in Italian] [translator website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: In the war-torn streets of Mogadishu, Samia loses her childhood friend and running coach to extremist gangs, perseveres as a athlete dreaming of running in the Olympics, and keeps traveling toward freedom, regardless of the dangers.
From the age of 10, Samia ran with the 2008 Olympics as her goal, inspired by refugee and world-class runner Mo Farah, coached by her best friend Ali, winning race after race in their Somalian city.
As rival militias recruited all young men into their religious factions, Ali left Samia’s neighborhood. Still she ran, gaining the attention of Somalia’s small Olympic Committee and earning a spot at the 2008 Beijing Games as a teen. How proud she was to represent her homeland!
But militia fighters wouldn’t let her practice when she returned to Mogadishu.
Time to take “the journey” as her sister had – through the desert, across the Mediterranean, to Europe – as Mo Farah had – to a place with enough to eat and running shoes that fit and freedom to run…
Based on the true story of Samia Yusuf Omar, who grew up with constant war as an “older sister” and ran anyway.