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6 Degrees Entertainment

Book Reviews
'I Am a Promise'
By: Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce - Black Sheep/Akashic Books, $15.95

Description: 'I Am a Promise' takes readers on Shelly Ann’s journey from her childhood in the tough inner-city community of Waterhouse in Kingston, Jamaica, through her development as a young athlete, to her first Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter sprint in 2008.

Verdict: In this short (24-page), yet agreeably enthralling new book, the story charts how Shelly Ann’s commitment to hard work as well as the encouragement of loved ones helped her achieve her dreams against great odds and challenging life experiences.

Most importantly, 'I Am a Promise' encourages young readers to believe in themselves and to maximize their own promise to the world.

First and foremost a colorful children's book, chock full of vividly wonderful, bright and brilliant illustrations from by Rachel Moss, we discover early on that Shelly loved to run as a little girl.

Then, as her love of running grew as much as she herself did, so too did her desire to not simply run, but run FAST!

She ran to school, to the shop, to the park. She ran like a rocket, ran to be free, because, well, that was who she knew she was born to be.

One day her grandmother saw her running and was the very first person to inform her that she was "... a promise." Confused by these words, her grandmother simply smiled and added, "Don't worry, child, one day you will see."

Even through he big school days she ran, harder and faster, still like a rocket, this time on fire and ready to soar. But times were hard for Shelly at home and sometimes there simply wasn't even enough money to pay bills or put food on the table.

But she never let her dream, her "promise" escape her and soon she was chosen to run in the Olympics for her country. Nervous before the race, her coach told her, "You represent the promise of our country. Go show the world what this promise is.

The race began. Shelly ran for her country. For her friends and family. Like that rocket she always knew was there inside her. The rest, as they say, is now history.

Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce is a six-time Olympic medal winner and holds several prestigious national and world athletic titles including the 2013 IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year.

In recognizing her contribution to sport and the country as a whole, the government of Jamaica awarded Fraser Pryce the Order of Distinction, and, in 2018, unveiled a statue of her at the National Stadium.

A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Fraser Pryce is also the founder of the Pocket Rocket Foundation which assists promising high school athletes, the owner of a café, Shelly's Café, and a hair salon named Lady Shelly Beauty. Ashley Rousseau studied creative writing at Lesley University's MFA program. Her short stories have been published in Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters and Small Axe.

She was born in Jamaica, where she continues to live with her family and work as a designer with local artisans.

Rachel Moss is an illustrator in love with the bright colors and vibrant energy of the Caribbean. She was born in Jamaica and studied animation in England at UCA.

Moss now lives in Jamaica where she spends her days illustrating children's books such as Abigail's Glorious Hair, Milo & Myra Learn Manners with Mr. Mongoose, and The Happiness Dress.

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