Blood Runner by James Riordan

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Samuel's parents and young sister, innocent bystanders during an uprising, are killed by South African police. Samuel is sent to live with his uncle, a tribal chief in the Bantu homeland, while his brother vows to join the African National Congress armed struggle and avenge his family's deaths. In the h omeland, Samuel discovers he can run faster than anyone and before long begins to train under his English-educated uncle. Years later, after the end of Apartheid, Samuel is selected as the token black South African athlete to run in the Olympics. President Nelson Mandela is there when he wins his gold medal, and Samuel dedicates it to 'a very special man... I was running for the President. I was running for my country.'

This powerful and moving story portrays what it was like for blacks growing up in South Africa aunder Apartheid and the different ways in which they struggled to gain their freedom. For some, like Samuel's brother, it was an armed struggle, but for Samuel it was the opportunity to prove he could run better than any white man.

About James Riordan

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James Riordan is the author of "The Platinum Rainbow". His interviews with and stories about major rock stars have appeared in "Rolling Stone" and other national magazines, and he was a consultant on Oliver Stone's film "The Doors". He lives near Chicago.
Published February 21, 2012 by Frances Lincoln Children's Books. 176 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Samuel, though, grows up to leverage his love of running barefoot over his dusty tribal “homeland” into a spot on South Africa’s Olympics team after apartheid collapses and Mandela is freed.

Mar 14 2012 | Read Full Review of Blood Runner

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