I’m still making my way through the ARC’s I picked up at the conference in the fall. I’m so glad this one made its way to the pile. It releases next month, and is absolutely worth multiple reads!
Summary: Wow! Now Is The Time For Running is a riveting and heart-wrenching read. Author Michael Williams has taken on some tough topics; politically motivated killings in Zimbabwe, xenophobia in South Africa, the plight of refugees, and added in other more universal touches such as the difficulties of dealing with and caring for a handicapped family member. The mixture becomes a wonderful read with characters that I cared about and rooted for.
Deo loves to play soccer with his friends in his village in Zimbabwe. With his older brother, Innocent, cheering him on, he can do wonders with his soccer ball, a leather pouch his grandfather made for him. But everything changes when the soldiers come. Deo & Innocent have to flee their village and try to make it to South Africa where they believe they will be safe. Deo is determined to take care of Innocent, who has always been different due to the difficulties of his birth. Innocent is determined to find their father who, last they knew, lived and worked in South Africa.
Life in South Africa is different, but not truly better. They are seen as outsiders, refugees who steal jobs from true South Africans. Taking care of Innocent consumes Deo; without him, his brother will do or say the wrong thing. He just doesn’t understand. The two make friends among the other refugees. Some of these friends lead them astray while others become a temporary family.
Eventually, Deo has nothing left. Life as a refugee has taken everything away from him and he sinks to a painful numbness. When he is given the chance to play soccer again, will his love of the game be enough to bring him back to life?
Before I read this book, I didn’t even realize there was a Homeless World Cup in soccer. What an amazing and wonderful idea – we often hear how sports and other activities can keep kids out of trouble, so it only makes sense to use that knowledge to help those in tough situations get out of them.
Now Is The Time For Running left me inspired and hungry for more. I already have some former students in mind to hand this book to.
14 and up
Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: moderate
Nudity/Adult Content: mild