Blog Tour: The Race by Roy Peachey

Thank you so much to Cranachan Publishing and to Antonia for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour, and for providing me with an early copy of ‘The Race’ . I’m excited to be sharing some wonderful creative writing videos linked to sport from Roy Peachey, perfect for keeping children busy during the summer and a fantastic teacher resource. I will also be sharing my Review for this wonderful historical adventure.

I really enjoyed watching these videos on creative writing linked to sport, and think they would make fantastic starters in a classroom. I have included my favourite quote taken from the videos to start each video section.

Getting started

The most important thing to remember is that, when we are writing, we just need to start, we just need to get going …

Let the javelin choose your words

… what we need to do really is to put words together in an interesting, and perhaps unusual, way …

Metaphors on the hockey pitch

Using metaphors, subtlety but effectively, in our writing can make a huge bit of difference …

The triple jump and triads

… if you’re looking to develop your writing, you’re not quite sure how, simply think in terms of threes: make a point, make it in a slightly different way and then make it in a slightly different way again. The third way is the way that really grabs your reader …

From drills to skills

Where do writers get their ideas from? Well, one answer to that question is that they get them from reading. They read lots, they read widely and, if you can do that as well, if you can read lots, if you can read widely, you will find that the ideas start to spill out of you … read whatever you’re interested in …

Batting your way to success

… the more of it [creative writing] you do, the better you’ll get …

My Review

The Race is an incredibly inspirational and heart-warming dual narrative about racing, family and dedication which kept me completely engrossed throughout.  A stunning and important story of perseverance, self-awareness and inclusion.   

Twelve-year-old Lili is Chinese-British, having been adopted in China when she was 18 months old by her English/Scottish parents who have also adopted her sister, Alice from Kazakhstan.  Lili has a keen interest in, and talent for, racing competitively; however, she is faced with racism and prejudice from Tom, a boy in her class who constantly undermines and belittles her Chinese heritage. 

As part of her school’s anniversary celebrations, the Queen is coming to visit for Sports Day, but there will be no separate races for the boys and girls.  Lili is determined to train hard and remain disciplined in order to show Tom that she is the better runner, but he is determined to do everything in his power to put her off her pace.  Will she have the inner strength and determination to run the race of her life? 

Their teacher gives the children a project to find out about the person who the Chinese consider to be their first gold medallist Olympian, Eric Liddell and it is his incredible story that we follow in the past as Lili’s story unfolds in the present.  I must admit that I didn’t know anything about Eric Liddell whose 1924 Olympic success is portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire, but there is so much more to Liddell than his racing achievements.  When he found himself caught up in the Second Sino-Japanese War and then the Second World War, he became separated from his family and faced life in a prison camp in China, helping the imprisoned children. His story is truly exceptional:  a person of integrity who showed kindness and consideration for others in the most difficult and trying of circumstances.

I loved the connectedness across time between Eric and Lili, both of whose lives are thrown into chaos by events outside their control.  Both show great resilience, strength and self-belief in the face of challenges.  They both strongly believe in the importance of family, in looking out for others and in kindness.  I found both Lili and Eric to be genuinely wonderful, inspirational people. 

This is a remarkable and heartfelt story with history and fiction combined in such a brilliant and perfect way that I was completely swept into the narrative and found myself racing through it, and then stopping to take a breath as I focussed on these two incredible people, one an inspirational historical figure (who I am so glad to have found out more about) and the other, a young girl, written with such warmth and love that she captured my heart.  An absolute winner!

Please do check out the other posts on the Blog Tour:

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