Every step forward is a victory.
Fauja Singh was born determined. He was also born with legs that wouldn’t allow him to play cricket with his friends or carry him to school miles from his village in Punjab. But that didn’t stop him. Working on his family’s farm, Fauja grew stronger to meet his own full potential.
He never stopped striving. At the age of 81, after a lifetime of making his body, mind, and heart stronger, Fauja decided to run his first marathon. He went on to break records all around the world and became the first person over 100 to complete the grueling long-distance race.
With inspiring text by Simran Jeet Singh and exhilarating illustrations by Baljinder Kaur, the true story of Fauja Singh reminds us that it’s both where we start and how we finish that make our journeys unforgettable.
Scholastic Reading Counts
Fauja Singh (1911– ). India. Biography. England. Long-distance runners. Marathon running. Sports and recreation. Sikh faith. Racism. Perseverance. Overcoming obstacles. Self-esteem and self-reliance.
Standard MARC Records
This engaging picture book biography tells the amazing story of a 100-year-old marathoner named Fauja Singh. Born in India, Singh could not walk until his fifth birthday and endured many other challenges in his long life. When people doubted him, he kept going. The book uses that determination, along with his mother’s unfailing encouragement, as the theme for his achievements. He grew into a healthy and active adult, with a family and a farm. A move to England at age 81 led to his emergence as a runner and his eventual record-setting accomplishments. The book’s language is appropriately inspirational, but also highlights the setbacks that Singh faced involving injuries, self-doubt, and racism. Slightly awkward wording disrupts the narrative flow a couple of times, but Singh’s story is unique and engaging, especially during the second half. Softly rendered illustrations effectively depict the various parts of the runner’s life; expressive faces and figures deftly convey movement and emotions. Recurring images of kites and birds reflect his indomitable spirit. Details of food, clothing, and hairstyles add spiritual and cultural context. A fine addition to picture book biography collections, with an inspirational message and strong cultural content.