Children’s Book About Olympian Yusra Mardini Makes a Big Splash
Beyond her athletic achievements, Mardini has used her platform to advocate for refugees and raise awareness for those who, like her, have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and adversity.
A new children’s book has come out detailing the inspiring and incredible story of Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini. The picture book, titled “Swimming Toward a Dream: Yusra Mardini's Incredible Journey from Refugee to Olympic Swimmer”, was writen by author Reem Faruqi and illustrated by Asma Enaye; both creators are avid advocates for refugees.
“Swimming Toward a Dream” is the latest book to tell the story of Syrian-born athlete Yusra Mardini. Mardini gained international recognition in 2015 for her incredible journey as a refugee during the ongoing Syrian civil war. After her home home was destroyed, Mardini and her sister braved a perilous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece, during which they helped save fellow refugees when their boat began to sink.
Mardini later settled in Germany and continued her swimming career. She went on to compete during both the 2016 and 2020 Olympic games as a member of the Refugee Olympic Team, an initiative that platforms athletes who are refugees due to conflict or crises. Beyond her athletic achievements, Mardini has used her platform to advocate for refugees and raise awareness for those who, like her, have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and adversity.
Reem Faruqi is the award-winning children's book author of “Lailah's Lunchbox,” which is based on her own experiences as a young Muslim girl immigrating to the United States. Her award-winning books have received critical acclaim, including “Amira's Picture Day,” which was selected as an ALA Notable Book for 2022. She lives with her husband and three daughters.
Asma Enayeh is a full-time children’s book artist who, like Yusra Mardini, grew up in Damascus, Syria. She has illustrated several previous books including “Olive and Charlotte,” a tale of two princess sisters, and “The Unbreakable Thread,” which is about the bond between a mother and child. Enayeh currently lives in Dubai with her husband and two daughters.
“Swimming Toward a Dream” was published by Page Street Kids on Sept. 5, 2023, and is available for purchase now. A portion of the book’s proceeds will go to Syrian refugee relief.
From the publisher’s website:
Growing up in Damascus, the pool was Yusra Mardini's happy place. She learned to swim before she could walk. And with swimming came a dream--to compete in the Olympic games.
But when war came to Syria, Yusra's home — and her pool —were no longer safe. Yusra and her sister set out on a harrowing journey, crossing the sea in search of safety.
In the inspirational tale that follows, Yusra's courageous spirit shines. Crammed on a too-small refugee boat, disaster strikes when the boat's motor breaks! Scared but determined, Yusra plunges into the water and starts swimming.
Infused with hope, Yusra's story encourages readers to pursue their own dreams, revealing how she met waves of danger with strength and perseverance. One breath at a time.
Readers will dive into this courageous tale of an athlete, refugee and hero who inspired the world with her resolve to pursue her Olympic dream.