Soul Surfer

By Bethany Hamilton (MTV Books)

Soul Surfer is the bestselling inspirational autobiography of a talented young surfer girl who lost her arm in a near-fatal shark attack—and triumphantly returned to competitive surfing.

When the movie version of this came out in 2011 my girls must have watched it 100 times.  The story of 14 year-old Bethany, a competitive surfer in Hawaii, captured their imagination as she battled to find her life again after the most terrifying experience.  Watching her lazily drifting in the water on her board as she waits to catch a wave on that fateful Halloween morning is chilling and yet everything that happens after is such an affirmation of life.

Written in a warm, chatty and engaging style, Bethany’s story is inspiring, motivational, and powerful.  She encourages young readers (and old) to overcome obstacles by finding and focusing on an inner passion and determination.  It’s a wonderful story of faith, family, and courage.

Her religious faith pushed her through and, even if you are not religious, the idea that you can overcome anything if you find something to believe in, is inspiring. As the book blurb says: ‘The first thing Bethany asked after her emergency surgery was “When can I surf again?” , leaving no doubt that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of personal empowerment and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing, perhaps even less so, than the soul.’

Children need to learn resilience in these times, more than ever, and reading an autobiography of a person who faced such a tough setback will give them a little more inspiration to draw on. This updated version of the original book has a chapter covering the making of the movie which fans will especially enjoy.

Find out more about Bethany Hamilton and watch her new movie – Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable out on Netflix.  Pre-school kids will enjoy the board book Bethany and her husband wrote called Unstoppable Me! about a lion who learns to keep trying.



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