‘That Was The Dream’: A Children’s Book Author Puts Sikh Character Front And Center

The sounds of Texas.

By Michael Marks & Caroline CovingtonSeptember 7, 2020 10:00 am, , ,

When Simran Jeet Singh was growing up in San Antonio, his was one of the few Sikh families in the area. He longed to see Sikhs portrayed in the books he read; to see other people, like the men in his family, wear beards and turbans as part of their religious tradition. But he was usually disappointed. Today, he’s a writer, professor and activist living in New York City. The birth of his daughter inspired him to write a children’s book about Fauja Singh, the oldest person to have ever run a marathon. Fauja is Sikh, and he crossed the finish line when he was 100 years old. When Fauja set that record, “that was the day that I started running,” Singh said. His book, “Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon,” is the first book about a Sikh character to be published by a major American publishing house.

“It put us in this strange sort of situation where we always felt like we had to explain who we were and even justify our existence.”

At 100 years old, Fauja Singh was the oldest person to have ever complete a marathon. Today, Singh is 109, and was the inspiration for Simran Jeet Singh’s children’s book, “Fauja Singh Keeps Going.”

“Fauja Singh is the oldest person to run a marathon, and in his 90s, he was shattering running records and getting all sorts of international attention.”


“There’s this illustration in the book where a young Fauja Singh is braiding his daughter’s hair. And when my daughter, she was 3 at the time, when she first saw that illustration, she squealed with delight, and she said, ‘Oh, that’s you and me every morning.’ And that, to me, like, my heart just melted in that moment. To me, it was like, that was the dream; that means the world to me.”

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