I Am Darn Tough

Tilbury. Sept. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780884487807.
K-Gr 3–Morelli isn’t just writing about a cross-country race run by a young girl, perhaps 11, with brown skin and flushed cheeks. The girl prepares at the starting line with her teammates. There is the crunch of gravel, large hills, and twisting paths, captured in soft-focus watercolors. It is a true quest, right down to the moment of stumbling and scraping her knee. “I remember crying, feeling defeated. My heart hurting, stomach in knots.” Readers are there at the start of the race, and at the end, when the girl crosses the finish line, the wind at her back, a cramp receding in the rush of accomplishment. In the voice of the narrator that is both strong and true, the story has a simple, empowering message: that even to the fleet of foot there will be moments of self-doubt, injury, and pain. Diaz’s scenes carry readers along with various perspectives and styles, from the close-up of the girl’s determined face to the ghostly outlines of the moment when she falls and drags herself back up.
VERDICT A necessary purchase; a surprisingly poetic glimpse of the heart of the athlete, with a welcome, winning heroine.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing