BOOKS
Proud: Living My American Dream
240p. glossary. Little, Brown. Jul. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316477000.
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OrangeReviewStarGr 6 Up—Fencer and Olympic medalist Muhammad pens an eminently readable account of her childhood through her win at the 2016 Rio Olympics in this must-have memoir. Opening with an all-too familiar scene, she recalls how a substitute teacher refused to properly pronounce her name, an episode that the Olympian uses to elucidate her motivations behind writing this text: "I wanted to chronicle my quest to challenge society's limited perceptions of what a Muslim woman, a black woman, or an athlete can be." In this regard, and many others, Muhammad excels. Her steadfast trust in herself and the guidance of her family and her faith shine throughout. Muhammad's retelling of her early home life, her qualification for the 2016 Olympics, and of blessings big and small are passages filled with love and awe. The writing is concise, and the replays of Muhammad's matches are riveting. Teen athletes, especially those playing in sports perceived as white, will relate to and value Muhammad's keen perspective on manipulative coaches, college and scholarship applications, racist and Islamophobic abuse from teammates, and the challenge of balancing practice, classwork, and personal academic interests. An epilogue discusses her role in creating the nonprofit Athletes for Impact and underlines the importance of defining one's identity for oneself and embracing one's dreams.
VERDICT A first purchase for YA nonfiction collections.

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