The Story of:
By Paula Yoo
Illustrated by Dom Lee
On a summer day in 1932, twelve-year-old Sammy Lee watched enviously as divers catapulted into the public swimming pool. Sammy desperately wanted to try diving himself, but the Korean American boy — like any person of color — was only allowed to use the pool one day a week.
This discrimination did not weaken Sammy's newfound passion for diving, and soon he began a struggle between his dream of becoming an Olympic champion and his father's wish for him to become a doctor. Over sixteen years Sammy faced numerous challenges, but he overcame them all and fulfilled both his dream and his father's. In 1948 Dr. Sammy Lee dove into Olympic history. A matter of seconds after his final platform dive, the scores appeared and Sammy Lee became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.
Sammy Lee's story of determination and triumph sets an extraordinary example for anyone striving to fulfill a dream. Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices Award, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds will inspire all who read it.
Check out the curriculum guide for Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds from the William Allen White Children's Book Awards, established and directed by Emporia State University.
- Paperback publication date: February 25, 2020
- Trade ISBN: 978-1643790145
- Reading level: Ages 8-12/Grades 3-7
- Publisher: Lee & Low Books