‘The Race’ by Roy Peachey (KS3)

‘Not your typical happily ever after, Roy has written a wonderfully relatable and inclusive tale, where all are welcome, and the beauty of sport brings everyone together in the end. There are life lessons to be learned in this inspiring story with friendship at its heart.’ Shaunagh Brown, International Rugby Player and Former Commonwealth Games Athlete

Synopsis: 12-year-old Lili is preparing to race in front of the Queen as part of her school’s anniversary celebrations. Having been adopted from China as a baby, Lili also has issues to work through. When her training is thrown into chaos by events outside her control, she must choose between family and the race of her life.

Meanwhile in 1944, Eric Liddell, hero of the 1924 Olympics, finds himself in a war zone. Separated from his family, he is getting ready to run his final race in a prison camp in China. But his lifelong principles are challenged by the imprisoned children he is trying to help…

Combining history and a coming-of-age story, The Race’s dual narrative moves back and forth between the fictional Lili, a twelve-year-old running enthusiast and the 1924 Olympian Eric Liddel who in 1944 was interned at the Japanese Weifang Internment Camp in China (where he was born to Scottish parents in 1902) after returning to Northern China as a missionary from Scotland.

A talent and passion for running binds Lili and Liddel despite the decades dividing them however their strength of character, courage and moral purpose is another commonality that transcends this. Within the personal challenges and decisions they each face, Peachey sensitively explores struggle and adversity, denigration, intolerance and racism.

The Race is a story of bravery and resilience, a tale of the need to make and see through difficult decisions. Incidentally, Liddel’s life was made famous by the classic 1981 film Chariots of Fire which I fuzzily remember watching as a child and must watch again to fully appreciate his legacy post reading.

Ms Harrison

This book follows a Chinese girl adopted by British people name Lily. She loves to run. With an extra special sports day upcoming, she needs to train extra hard. It is not just on the track she needs to face her competitors; she also faces racist mind games. She finds out about a man named Eric Liddell who, like her, was born in China then adopted by British parents and loved to run winning gold for England. I found this book interesting because it is about sports and the Olympics which everyone loves to watch and it follows the life of two people who are 70 years apart but have many similarities.

Dawud Hussain, Year 8