I Am a Promise

Akashic/Black Sheep. Feb. 2020. 24p. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781617757648.
K-Gr 3–Fraser Pryce, who grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, always loved to run. Her noticeable talent was present at an early age and was nurtured by many adults in her life. Her ability was her promise—to herself, to her family, to the people who supported her, and to the country that cheered her on as she represented Jamaica in the Olympics. The straightforward writing is punctuated with occasional moments of rhythm: “I ran to school. I ran to the shop. I ran like a rocket. I ran to be free. I ran everywhere, because that was me.” The digital artwork is colorful, with thick black-lined illustrations that reflect the text on the page, but rarely add more to the story. The emotional impact of the narrative is muted somewhat by the lack of detail and specificity in both the text and the artwork (no mention is made of Jamaica in the actual story, and only the most astute readers will know what country she is representing by looking at the flag).
VERDICT Young readers may struggle to make a connection with Fraser Pryce and her achievements. A secondary purchase for most libraries.

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