Award-Winning Books Diversified - Rainbow Colours of Literature GB Challenges Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Young Boy’s Story of Determination As Told By Paula Yoo in “Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story”

1419902958986

Fats here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, as well as reading challenges that we have pledged to join this year.

11698648_995769550468521_1991778473344985840_n

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

nfpb811aSixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds
(The Sammy Lee Story)

Author: Paula Yoo
Illustrator: Dom Lee
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (2005)
Copy owned by: Medina County District Library
Awards received:
“New Voices” Award Lee & Low Books (Winner, 2003)
Comstock Book Award (Honor, 2006)
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (Honor, 2006)

On a summer day in 1932, a twelve-year-old boy named Sammy stood by the fence that surrounded the public pool. A sign on the fence said, “MEMBERS ONLY EXCEPT WEDNESDAY”. In those years, only whites were allowed to enter the pool anytime, while people of color were only permitted on Wednesdays. Sammy watched in envy at the children having fun in the water. When he saw one child jump and plunge head first into the water, Sammy knew it was something that he wanted to do someday.

nfpb811b

Sammy’s parents left Korea in hope of finding a better life in the United States. Sammy’s father knew about Sammy’s desire to learn diving but he wanted his son to focus on his studies so that he would one day become a doctor. Sammy’s father always said, “You can achieve anything if you set your heart to it.” When Sammy’s father died of a heart attack in 1943, Sammy joined the United States Army medical training program. He became Dr. Sammy Lee in 1946.

nfpb811c

Sammy’s love for diving did not falter. On days that he was able, Sammy trained in order to compete in the Olympics. In 1948, Sammy became the first Asian American to win a gold medal for the United States at the Olympics held in London, England. Four years later, at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, Sammy won the gold medal again, making him the first man to defend an Olympic diving title and win gold medals in diving in two consecutive Olympic Games.

“Never before had Sammy felt such intense pressure. He had trained sixteen years for this — a moment that would last barely sixteen seconds from the time he dived to when the scores would be revealed.”

Dr. Sammy Lee, U.S. Army Medical Lieutenant from Pasadena, Calif., dives from the tower of the Empire Pool in Wembley, England, August 5, 1948 in the Olympic Tower Diving Championships.  Lee, after winning championship, announced he would retire form sport to devote his time to medicine.  (AP Photo) NYTCREDIT: Associated Press
Dr. Sammy Lee, U.S. Army Medical Lieutenant from Pasadena, Calif., dives from the tower of the Empire Pool in Wembley, England, August 5, 1948 in the Olympic Tower Diving Championships. Lee, after winning championship, announced he would retire form sport to devote his time to medicine. (AP Photo) NYTCREDIT: Associated Press

The story of Dr. Sammy Lee is not without heartbreak. Since he was young and because of his skin color, Sammy had experienced discrimination. During his senior year in high school, Sammy could not attend his own prom because the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the place where his high school prom was held, only allowed white students to enter. Years later, after doing a diving exhibition with his friends, Sammy was not allowed inside a restaurant to eat with them. And at times, he was still prohibited from using pools except on assigned days. Despite the injustices that he faced, Sammy neither gave up nor gave in. He carried his father’s words in his life. He worked hard to pursue his goals and trained to prove that no one should be judged by the color of his or her skin.

To find out more about Dr. Sammy Lee, you can read the article posted on USAdiver. Dr. Sammy Lee’s portrait on the left was taken from another article published on the website of KCET, an independent TV station in Southern and Central California. The portrait on the right was taken by photographer Max S. Gerber, an editorial and commercial photographer in California. He has also written something about the Olympic medalist. Dr. Sammy Lee is 95 years old this year.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

IMG_8056

#AWBRead2015 Challenge Update: 61 (35)

1419902958986

#nfpb2015 Challenge Update: 43 (25)

4 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Young Boy’s Story of Determination As Told By Paula Yoo in “Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story”

  1. Thanks for sharing this book. It’s depressingly sad the scope of segregation and racism that existed really not that long ago- and sadly still has strong roots in some places.

    Like

  2. This looks like a wonderful biography! That photo of Sammy Lee diving is so amazing. He sounds like he was an extraordinary person.

    Like

  3. What a great addition to books about race because there are few about the segregation/racism towards Asian. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  4. I loved this book! Thank you for including the additional information about Sammy.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: