Unsinkable: From Russian Orphan to Paralympic Swimming World Champion
Unsinkable: From Russian Orphan to Paralympic Swimming World Champion
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Annotation: In this inspirational photographic memoir, Jessica Long, the world's top Paralympic swimmer, recounts her story, from her adoption from a Russian orphanage at thirteen months to becoming a highly decorated U.S. athlete.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #158772
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 104 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-328-70725-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-328-70725-3
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2018000945
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
With Hannah Long. A Russian orphan and double amputee adopted by an American family, Jessica Long became the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympics swim team. Jessica's first-person narrative recounts her incredible ascent to competitive-swimming success via chapters (each titled "The Moment I...") highlighting important anecdotes of both failure and triumph. An inspiring and intimate memoir filled with photographs of the athlete's early and present life.
Kirkus Reviews
In a series of "moments," Paralympic swimmer Long describes how she became "the second-most decorated Paralympian of all time.""I've never been good at listening to people. They always seem to tell me what I can't do," writes Long, setting the theme for her informative—if somewhat disorganized—discussion of sports, family, physical disability, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Christianity. Born in Siberia with fibular hemimelia, a condition that later necessitated the amputation of her legs, Long was adopted into an American family that encouraged her love of swimming. ("God had a plan for that little Russian orphan," she concludes.) The youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic swim team at age 12, she went on to compete in the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Paralympic Games. Her acceptance into a "second family" of other amputees after growing up without disabled peers will resonate with readers who also desire camaraderie with others like themselves. Though Long's disdain for physical or emotional weakness borders on cliché, the sacrifices her grueling training requires—and her desire to make them worthwhile—provide sympathetic context for her aversion to "giving in." The book's bright color scheme is occasionally hard on the eyes; blues and reds in the accompanying photos are intense, and white text on yellow and sky blue backgrounds blurs the first page of each chapter. Long and her family present white.Even readers who are not sports enthusiasts will appreciate Long's upbeat account of finding confidence in the water and in life. (Memoir. 8-14)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This is the photo-illustrated autobiography of an extraordinary young woman who was born in Russia, adopted by an amazing family in Maryland, had both legs amputated below the knee due to a birth defect, and found her passion in swimming, becoming a professional athlete who won 23 medals (13 gold) over a career that spanned 16 years and 4 Paralympics. She's also an inspirational speaker, fashion model, and ESPY Award winner, but still manages to come across as completely approachable, down-to-earth, and extremely grateful for the support and opportunities that have come her way. Jessica Long tells her story through short chapters devoted to self-defined life-changing moments, with an engaging narrative helped along by plenty of family and professional photos. Her strong love and appreciation for her family shines through (her sister, Hannah, is her coauthor), as does her devotion to her Christian faith (there's no proselytizing, just casual references to her belief and its impact on her daily life). Long also tells of being reunited with her biological family in Russia, and how this brings additional joy into her life. Unique in its coverage of Paralympians, and inspirational on so many levels, this is a great addition for middle-school collections.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Word Count: 16,652
Reading Level: 6.4
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.4 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 195304 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:8.4 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q72369
Lexile: 990L

The top Paralympic swimmer in the world, Jessica Long delivers an inspirational photographic memoir. Born in Siberia with fibular hemimelia, Jessica Long was adopted from a Russian orphanage at thirteen months old and has since become the second most decorated U.S. Paralympic athlete of all time. Now, Jessica shares all the moments in her life--big and small, heartbreaking and uplifting--that led to her domination in the Paralympic swimming world. This photographic memoir, filled with photographs, sidebars, quotes, and more, will thrill her fans and inspire those who are hearing her story for the first time.

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