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Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon

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The inspiring true story of Fauja Singh, who broke world records to become the first one hundred-year-old to run a marathon, shares valuable lessons on the source of his grit, determination to overcome obstacles, and commitment to positive representation of the Sikh community. Every step forward is a victory. Fauja Singh was born determined. He was also born with legs that w The inspiring true story of Fauja Singh, who broke world records to become the first one hundred-year-old to run a marathon, shares valuable lessons on the source of his grit, determination to overcome obstacles, and commitment to positive representation of the Sikh community. 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.


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The inspiring true story of Fauja Singh, who broke world records to become the first one hundred-year-old to run a marathon, shares valuable lessons on the source of his grit, determination to overcome obstacles, and commitment to positive representation of the Sikh community. Every step forward is a victory. Fauja Singh was born determined. He was also born with legs that w The inspiring true story of Fauja Singh, who broke world records to become the first one hundred-year-old to run a marathon, shares valuable lessons on the source of his grit, determination to overcome obstacles, and commitment to positive representation of the Sikh community. 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.

30 review for Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    One of my favorite picture books of the year. What a year for young people's literature.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    A lovely inspirational story! Fauja Singh overcame the inability to walk as a child and moving to a new country at 81, to fall in love with running! I love the representation of Sikhism here - I’m sure many children will see themselves and their culture in this book for the first time. It is also an example against ageism! Not all grandparents and elders have the same level of ability. I would love to pair this book with “The Oldest Student” and see what kids say.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    After a full life farming in India, Singh moved to England at the age of 81 to live with his family. For someone who loved his country, this was a hard move, but Singh found that running helped him feel better about his new situation. Soon, he was running more and more, and enlisted a coach to help him train for a marathon. He ran many races, has a raft of records he has broken, and still continues to run. The book has great illustrations, as well as a photograph at the end, and lists all of Sin After a full life farming in India, Singh moved to England at the age of 81 to live with his family. For someone who loved his country, this was a hard move, but Singh found that running helped him feel better about his new situation. Soon, he was running more and more, and enlisted a coach to help him train for a marathon. He ran many races, has a raft of records he has broken, and still continues to run. The book has great illustrations, as well as a photograph at the end, and lists all of Singh's records. Seeing older people as active and engaged in life, and even trying new things, is a fantastic message. I have quite a collection of running picture books, so will probably purchase this one. Singh, along with runner Joy Johnson (who didn't start running until she was 59 and literally died with her racing shoes on) give me strength to believe that "Every step forward is a victory."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dilpreet Kaur

    Such a sweet and inspiring tale! On a personal note, I was in tears to see someone who looks like my grandfathers represented in a children’s book. Simran Jeet Singh struck the perfect balance of weaving cultural Punjabi & Sikhism elements to teach young children about other cultures while keeping larger themes of fighting against the odds, and hard work paying off at the forefront. The illustrations by Baljinder Kaur really just took me back to my own childhood. Can’t recommend this enough ❤️ Such a sweet and inspiring tale! On a personal note, I was in tears to see someone who looks like my grandfathers represented in a children’s book. Simran Jeet Singh struck the perfect balance of weaving cultural Punjabi & Sikhism elements to teach young children about other cultures while keeping larger themes of fighting against the odds, and hard work paying off at the forefront. The illustrations by Baljinder Kaur really just took me back to my own childhood. Can’t recommend this enough ❤️

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    What a sweet, and incredibly inspiring story of one man and his determination, athleticism, and faith. *I received an ARC for the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Beautiful story, words, and pictures. "But Fauja didn't listen and Fauja didn't stop." Inspiring!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Reading Canuck

    As a Sikh, I am BEYOND excited to share this book with you!! Why? 1. It’s the first book with a Sikh protagonist to be published by a large, mainstream publisher 2. It’s an #OwnVoices book, meaning the author and illustrator share the background of the protagonist 3. It’s a true story and incredibly inspirational! As an #OwnVoicesReviewer, I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw so much meaningful detail in the writing and illustrations. Everything was on point- the Gurdwara, clothing, food, home deco As a Sikh, I am BEYOND excited to share this book with you!! Why? 1. It’s the first book with a Sikh protagonist to be published by a large, mainstream publisher 2. It’s an #OwnVoices book, meaning the author and illustrator share the background of the protagonist 3. It’s a true story and incredibly inspirational! As an #OwnVoicesReviewer, I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw so much meaningful detail in the writing and illustrations. Everything was on point- the Gurdwara, clothing, food, home decor- it was all so relatable since the illustrator herself was Sikh. She captured Sikh life beautifully! This book has a powerful message of perseverance and growth mindset. I am so glad that I can share this story with my son, so he can see himself and his family in a book. It empowers Sikh children, as there are not many books that represent this community. I highly, highly recommend it to every parent and teacher. This needs to be in every classroom, library and home! 💡 Lesson Idea: There’s a lot of ways to incorporate this book into the classroom. For example, when you’re teaching themes of: perseverance, growth mindset, goal setting, and diversity. Since it’s September, I’d hone in on the concept of perseverance and goal setting. I would introduce the words and then read the story. We’d have a discussion about how Fauja Singh set a goal, the steps he took to achieve it, hurdles along the way, and his support system. Then, following the same structure, students would be given the opportunity to set one goal for the term (academic or not academic) and write about it. I’d also create a display with each child’s photo and a speech bubble with their goal. Displaying it somewhere in the room will help students remain accountable, focused and motivated. For more lesson ideas, check out @readingcanuck on Instagram!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon is a children's picture book written by Simrat Jeet Singh and illustrated by Baljinder Kaur. It is a short, illustrated biography of Fauja Singh, who was the first 100-year-old to ever run a marathon. Fauja Singh is a British Sikh centenarian marathon runner of Punjabi Indian descent. He has beaten a number of world records in multiple age brackets, but none of his times have been ratified as records. His current Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon is a children's picture book written by Simrat Jeet Singh and illustrated by Baljinder Kaur. It is a short, illustrated biography of Fauja Singh, who was the first 100-year-old to ever run a marathon. Fauja Singh is a British Sikh centenarian marathon runner of Punjabi Indian descent. He has beaten a number of world records in multiple age brackets, but none of his times have been ratified as records. His current personal best time for the London Marathon (2003) is 6 hours 2 minutes and his marathon record, for age 90-plus, is 5 hours 40 minutes at the age of 92, at the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Singh's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. Singh (no relation) focuses largely on the life and achievements of his subject, emphasizing the importance of working hard and holding on to dreams. Backmatter includes additional information on Singh’s life. Kaur's sensitive illustrations of emotionally resonant moments, like Fauja’s mother lovingly combing his long hair. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. Fauja Singh has defied expectations all his life as he took his first steps late in life at the age of five, grows up to run his own farm, emigrates from India to England as an 81-year-old, and takes up running as an even older man, completing the London marathon six times. As a response to discrimination against Sikhs in the United States, Fauja runs the New York City Marathon at age 93 and in 2011 becoming the first 100-year-old person to run a marathon. All in all, Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon is an inspirational story about persevering in the face of hardship.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    After a life in India where he always worked to be stronger and better, Fauja Singh at the age of 81 moved to England to be with his family. It was there that he discovered marathon running and began training. After some ups and downs, Singh became the oldest person (100!) to run a marathon. This is a really sweet and inspiring story of an extraordinary man who has never stopped trying to become a stronger and better person. The illustrations by Baljinder Kaur are lovely - digitally created using After a life in India where he always worked to be stronger and better, Fauja Singh at the age of 81 moved to England to be with his family. It was there that he discovered marathon running and began training. After some ups and downs, Singh became the oldest person (100!) to run a marathon. This is a really sweet and inspiring story of an extraordinary man who has never stopped trying to become a stronger and better person. The illustrations by Baljinder Kaur are lovely - digitally created using hand drawings and collage pieces. These are exquisitely intricate and provide wonderful images of daily life in another culture. Back matter includes additional information on Singh, a wonderful photograph of him and a list of his records. There is also a forward written by Singh to young readers.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Martinez Figueroa

    A lovely story of perseverance through the perspective of a Punjabi Sikh centenarian man. The illustrations were quite lovely, though I would've preferred if the TV also showed an illustration rather than a still, as I felt it disrupted the flow of the page. It was an incredible read and I especially liked the endpapers and the image of Fauja's hair being brushed by his mother, as it conveyed a tenderness and love that is prevalent in Fauja's life. I don't think I'd ever read a book by a Sikh pe A lovely story of perseverance through the perspective of a Punjabi Sikh centenarian man. The illustrations were quite lovely, though I would've preferred if the TV also showed an illustration rather than a still, as I felt it disrupted the flow of the page. It was an incredible read and I especially liked the endpapers and the image of Fauja's hair being brushed by his mother, as it conveyed a tenderness and love that is prevalent in Fauja's life. I don't think I'd ever read a book by a Sikh person, let alone one that also centered a Sikh person. I'm glad efforts are being made to bring more representation in literature. Thanks to Edelweiss and Kokila for allowing me to read this advanced reader copy!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    What an inspiring story! Fauja Singh faced a lifetime of challenges. He didn't start walking until he was five years old, his legs were too weak to walk to school, and it was thought that he would not be strong enough for farm work, but he overcame all this. In Fauja's own words in his introduction, he says "All my life, people set limitations on me. . . I always believed in myself." None of this was easy and he should be admired for it, but what is extraordinary is that he continued to push him What an inspiring story! Fauja Singh faced a lifetime of challenges. He didn't start walking until he was five years old, his legs were too weak to walk to school, and it was thought that he would not be strong enough for farm work, but he overcame all this. In Fauja's own words in his introduction, he says "All my life, people set limitations on me. . . I always believed in myself." None of this was easy and he should be admired for it, but what is extraordinary is that he continued to push himself: running his first marathon when he was 89 and then being the oldest person to ever run a marathon at one-hundred-years of age. Incredible! A compelling picture book biography that gives us an affirming message about overcoming limiting expectations.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharan Kaur

    Growing up, as a Sikh, I have been quite disappointed that I've never come across books with Sikh characters (other than of course books on Sikh Gurus, 1984 Genocide and the 1947 partition). 'Fauja Singh Keeps Going' is an amazing book that throws perspective on various aspects of an 81-year-old Sikh man's life and his perseverance that later lead him to achieve the heights of success. This is one of the first illustrative books I've ever read and it is a very inspiring yet empowering story! May Growing up, as a Sikh, I have been quite disappointed that I've never come across books with Sikh characters (other than of course books on Sikh Gurus, 1984 Genocide and the 1947 partition). 'Fauja Singh Keeps Going' is an amazing book that throws perspective on various aspects of an 81-year-old Sikh man's life and his perseverance that later lead him to achieve the heights of success. This is one of the first illustrative books I've ever read and it is a very inspiring yet empowering story! Maybe I'll get myself a hardcopy! This one truly holds a place closer to my heart!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This is an awesome inspirational story about the oldest person to ever run a marathon. The illustrations doing a really great job of depicting Singh and his family in a warm, realistic manner. I appreciated that the back matter includes information about what it means to be a Sikh, as well as about Singh's life. Very nice addition to any public library, classroom, or home collection. I do wish that it included a bit more information about why Singh couldn't walk when he was a child; without this This is an awesome inspirational story about the oldest person to ever run a marathon. The illustrations doing a really great job of depicting Singh and his family in a warm, realistic manner. I appreciated that the back matter includes information about what it means to be a Sikh, as well as about Singh's life. Very nice addition to any public library, classroom, or home collection. I do wish that it included a bit more information about why Singh couldn't walk when he was a child; without this, it could lead kids to believe that children who can't walk just haven't tried hard enough.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Preet

    So happy this book exists! The message of perseverance and seeing the humanity in all is a wonderful lesson. It's great to see a book that embraces multiculturalism, showcases Sikhs, and handles the topic of disability so thoughtfully. The illustrations are gorgeous and beautifully depict people of different backgrounds, skin tones, and abilities. Baljinder, the illustrator, realistically captures her subjects while adding whimsy and charm. I recommend this book for people of all ages.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jj

    A very interesting life, and a great story here. My mind is struggling to think he is still illiterate after all these years--there is a mention of how he could not read or write which really stuck with me and makes me hope that he will next take on the challenge of learning to read at 100+ years old... how awesome that would be. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers/Penguin Random House for the review copy!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    The text per page may be a little long for children, and there are some unfamiliar words that are not explained. That does not take away from how inspiring the book is, dealing with overcoming difficulty and persevering. Adults may also be touched by the long-lasting influence of his mother, and the book can do well for helping children to appreciate the elderly, and that they have lived and are still living their own lives.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen Bojkov

    Lovely story of the worlds oldest man to finish a marathon. Tells of his challenges as he grew from a small boy who could not walk into a young man with a family. And then how he approached old age after the death of his wife. Probably not for the very youngest of children, but I think a 4-5 YO could enjoy the lovely pictures and the basic message- know yourself, trust yourself, and keep trying.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Fauja Singh would not take "no" for an answer. When doctors told his parents he would never walk, HE DID. When he was told he couldn't farm, HE DID. When he was 81 years old, he decided to run a marathon and HE DID. At the age of 100, he decided to run another marathon and HE DID, becoming the oldest person EVER to complete this 26.2 mile race. This inspirational true story of Fauja Singh will hopefully inspire others to be resilient, independent and live their best lives.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Excellent story! This is the true story of Fauja Singh who didn't walk until he was five. He couldn't walk to school, it was too far for him. However, he perceivers and at a very late time in life, he began running and eventually ran in marathons! This book is all about knowing who you are, setting goals and working to get to those goals. I can hardly wait to use this book with my students!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Thank you Edelweiss for the ARC! Beautiful, inspiring book for kids of all ages! The illustrations are gorgeous and evocative. Fauja's story of faith and perseverance is rightly seen not as a one-time thing, but a lifetime of endurance. The foreword to readers by Fauja Singh at the beginning was very special as well.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Sturm

    This book is beautifully written, amazingly illustrated, and overall just so welcome in this current time. The story of Singh is both uplifting and encouraging to all but highlights an entire culture of people and how positive and wonderful they are. I am so excited to have this book and put it in my classroom library for students to read!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Debby

    With faith, confidence, dedication, and perseverance, Fauja Singh tackles everything in life, from learning to walk (he couldn't until he was around 5 years old) to farming, to moving in his 80s, to running marathons. Fauja Singh's story is delightfully written and illustrated, and the book includes a forward by Fauja himself, and a short biography and listing of his records at the end.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    There's so much to love about this book! The positive representation of a Sikh and of a strong and capable older person, the goal-setting, the illustrations, the endpapers. Thank you Penguin Young Readers for providing this review copy via Edelweiss.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    The inspiring true story of a Sikh man who moves from Punjab to England at age 81, takes up running and began running marathons to eventually set the astonishing record of becoming the only 100-year-old-person to complete a marathon. A great story of commitment and determination.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I had never heard of Fauja Singh before now, and I'm glad that he's still alive and able to write the forward to this book. Ageism is also something that seems under-explored, especially in sports, so I'm glad Singh's story is still being told.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    A fun picture book biography about an inspirational man who didn't learn to walk until after age 5. Presents his Sikh religion as a vital part of his life. An excellent choice for school libraries, this would also be a great read aloud.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Dobrez

    Wilma Rudolph, meet Fauja Singh! An inspiring picture book biography that will have children wondering what they do if they follow Fauja's mother's daily advice: "You know yourself...and you know what you're capable of. Today is a chance to do your best." The illustrations are lovely, too.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barbra

    Fauja Singh broke world records as the first 100 year old to run a marathon. Born unable to walk, we follow his struggles as he pushes himself to not only walk but run. A wonderfully inspiring story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Love! Such an inspiring story with so much to discuss with young readers. Growth mindset, disability, bullying, world and cultural knowledge, setbacks, and accomplishments. I am pairing this with the oldest student to start our school year with middle grade students.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    An inspiring story of determination and perseverance. The whole family enjoyed this picture book biography. Highly recommended. The inclusion of information on Sikhism and the records Singh holds was a nice addition at the back of the book.

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