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Little Warrior

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  7,641 ratings  ·  1,816 reviews
A heartbreaking novel, inspired by a true story, about a Somali girl who is willing to sacrifice everything to fulfill her dream of becoming a champion runner.

LITTLE WARRIOR is based on the life of Samia Omar, a girl who grows up in war-torn Somalia determined to be a world-class sprinter. She sleeps with a photo of Mo Farah by her bed, trains hard despite the violence and
Paperback, 250 pages
Published April 7th 2016 by Faber & Faber (first published January 8th 2014)
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E.C. It's a relatively quick read (around 256 or so pages)! I'd recommend it for high school age too, as there is some profanity.

As for interesting—for th…more
It's a relatively quick read (around 256 or so pages)! I'd recommend it for high school age too, as there is some profanity.

As for interesting—for the genre, I'd say yes, but it really depends on the person.(less)

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Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,641 ratings  ·  1,816 reviews

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Angela M
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

One of the things I love about watching the Olympics is the opening ceremony when the athletes march into the arena carrying the flags of their nations, donning match outfits, and faces filled with smiles of pride and anticipation of a chance to make their dream of winning a medal come true. I'm always touched by the smaller teams of a few and you can't help but know they have struggled more than anyone to get there. So I wonder if I saw the young woman named Samia Yusaf Omar, whose story this n
Diane S ☔
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Her name is Samia. She wanted only to run, she had a dream, to represent her country of oppressed women in the Olympics. She starts running at the age of eight, with her good friend Ali, who will be her coach for many years. But, this is Somalia, a country perpetually at war, she runs in holey old gym shoes trying to bypass the glass, iron and other debris on the streets. Al-Shabaab is everywhere and they soon take power. Everything changes, no music, no singing, women must always wear the b ...more
When many Americans think of the Olympics, they are drawn to track and field, swimming, gymnastics, and basketball, sports that Americans excel in. In some of the events, it is a foregone conclusion that a representative of the United States will win the gold medal. Not all athletes compete for the glitz and endorsements that come from medaling. Some athletes compete for the pure joy of competing and to bring honor and glory to their counties. Olympic coverage usually focuses on a few of these t ...more
Israa Al-gburi
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites, must-read
To be born as a female in a war zone area , ruled by criminals ,thieves and religious extremists is a real catastrophe

To be born as a female with great soul and big dreams in such area is a greater catastrophe

Even the ordinary and simple things that people everywhere else take for granted and the most simple creatures are free to do like running , swimming and singing will be prohibited and tabooed

I know exactly what it means , I was born in such an area .

What it was hard for me to understand
RoseMary Achey
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is young Samia Yusuf Omar representing Somalia during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Don't Tell Me You're Afraid is the fictionalized account of her journey to these games and her attempted journey to the 2012 London Olympics. When you see these smaller, possibly war torn countries during the Olympic Opening Ceremonies I don't think we realize what the athletes must experience to compete on this level. This book truly helped me understand why these athletes should be appreciated and recognized
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural, loved-loved
Wow...I enjoyed this story. This book came out this year (2016). Although it is fiction, it is based on a true story of a Somalian girl who was trying to get to the Olympics. She actually did make it to the Olympics in Beijing, but her journey to the Olympics in London was interrupted.

The MC was splayed open in a way that only the innocent can be, who has nothing to hide. It was a raw look at the workings of a girl who had dreams, hopes and an amazing ability, but was held back by a war torn cou
Zahraa Abd-ulkareem
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, fiction
"Don't Tell Me You're Afraid" is the novelization of the life of Samia Yusuf Omar, a Somali runner who competed in the 2008 Olympics and had her eyes set on attending the 2012 Olympics as a better, more competitive runner. Unfortunately, the story takes a turn for the worst when Samia is trying to escape her war-torn country as a refugee. This is an incredibly powerful book that had me cheering and crying! A perfect pick for the lead up to this year's Olympics, this book sheds light on the stren ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you rate/discuss such a sad story based on the short brave and determined life of Samia Yusuf Omar? Written in the first person, this reads like an autobiography and it’s power is that Samia was a real person.
Samia was born in Somalia, to a poor family but dreamed of competing in the Olympics. She achieved this dream at Beijing with no coach, no proper diet, no training facility and in the face of violent opposition by the Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group. She aspired to doing bette
Katherine Sunderland
This novel is based on the true story of Samia Yusuf Omar, a Somalian athlete who died on April 2nd 2012 aged 21, drowning while trying to reach the ropes tossed out from an Italian vessel as she attempted to get to England and participate in the London Olympic Games. It is an affecting and heart wrenching story about the determination of one spirited woman who never gave up her hopes or dreams despite the suffering and oppression she faced daily, particularly as she began her dehumanising journ ...more
Salam Gari
Life is so unfair and it’s shown in Samia’s story🥺.
I loved this book, it made me feel emotional and gave me chills at times but not gonna lie I felt a bit bored reading it at times, but I would still recommend it for someone looking for an inspirational, well-written autobiography.
This story is so sad to the point that you actually think that it’s fiction, sometimes we really forget that we live in this unfair and cruel world, and there are some people that are unfortunate enough to be the reminder of that.
رحمك الله سامية وتغمدك بواسع رحمته
Aya Ibraheem
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
How rare it is, the books that make us Feel <3 !.

To be reviewed ..
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
all the stars of the universe for you dear samia "may peace be upon you".
after hearing about samia yusuf omar's tragedic story the italian writer Giuseppe Catozzella decided to collect the more infos he couls and write a book in samia's POV.
it goes from from when samia was 8years old, when her dreams and goals bloomed, until she was 21 when everything fanished in the deep sea.
this book is about a young dreamy soul,( just like you, just like me), a soumalian girl who would always train in order t
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story of a young Somalian girl, Samia, who lives in poverty and in wartime conditions in her country, yet dreams of running in the Olympics. Simply written, it describes her living conditions, the love for her family and her neighbor, Ali, that she loves as she would a brother. Her story shocked me. It was a timely book to select in more ways than just the Olympic games. As an American, we take simple everyday life for granted. Everytime I see a story about refuges, I wonder at t ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
Well, I cried. I think that was inevitable. But a very, very powerful and moving story for our times. I had moments of reservation and discomfort about Catozzella (as a white, male, middle-aged Westerner) occupying a real life young girl's inner narrative, but in the end I think he managed the balance well. It was honest, simply-written, and heart-wrenching. And it's definitely altered my worldview on the motivations of refugees.

'The afternoon was wonderful. I had my whole life ahead of me, and
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-told story of a remarkable woman. Much of the story is tragic, but it is told with hope, driven by determination, work, and love. The book gives a vivid glimpse into life in Mogadishu, Somalia--what it's like to live in a country that has been at war your whole life, what would compel people to choose the risks of leaving as a refugee, and the terrible rigors of that journey. The characters are vivid and well-portrayed, and the reader on the audio book does a masterful job of givi ...more
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Live, Samia, live, like everything was a miracle"
This book is not just about a little girl's dream, but about a whole country's struggle. I warn whoever is going to read this book, you will need a lot of tissues.
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Fictionalized account of a real-life heroine that reads like a memoir. I never heard of Samia but I will not forget her now that I know about her. She was a fighter, determined to live her dream.
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is so many things i would like to say about it, but i don't think it will be enough.
So Just read it...
Rochelle Sewell
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Little Warrior’ is a fitting nickname for Samia Yusef Omar, a young Somalian athlete from war torn Mogadishu. It was bestowed upon her by her father, her Aabe. It not only reflects her athletic ability, which is immediately revealed when the book opens with a running scene, but also the immense bravery of Somalian people, some who have known of nothing but air scented by gunpowder from the time they take their first breath.

This book tells the story of families living in the midst of civil war w
Kathryn Williams
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel, "Don't Tell Me You're Afraid" by Giuseppe Catozzella follows the true story of Samia, a girl from Somalia, and her journey to becoming an Olympic runner. It outlines her life from early childhood until 2012 when she was 21 years old.

This is the inspiring story of a girl pursuing her dream of running, and winning in the Olympics. She fights through political, religious and social terrorism in her country and standing up for women's freedom and rights, all while training endlessly thro
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of our times. Do not expect to read this book and not be affected by what is happening in our world today. I was greatly moved and angered with the people traffickers. I think everyone should read this book.

Semi biographical story of a young Yemini athlete, Samia Omar, who was born and brought up in a country in the middle of a civil war. Trying to run and compete in a male dominated, extremely Muslim rebel area, where to be outside alone without wearing the full Burka, could lead to a b
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All I could do was wait.

Pray, wait, and read. In fact there were letters in that prison. In Arabic, in Somali, in Ethiopian, and in English, left there somehow, for some reason, tossed aside in a corner, accumulated over years and years. Letters from prisoners or from their loved ones. Maybe they were mementos of the dead that the guards had never had the nerve to discard. In those letters there were lives. And so, reading them, I rediscovered what no longer existed inside of me. Life. Memories.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This is the true story of a girl from Somalia who dreams of running in the Olympics. She trains on her own with no professional coach, no proper shoes, and without proper nutrition, and makes it to the 2008 Olympics, against all odds. She makes it a goal to return to the 2012 Games better prepared, but being a female in a war torn country in that part of the world makes it very difficult. She decides to migrate to Europe to train with a coach in better conditions, but the details of her jou ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-pfr
Don't Tell Me You're Afraid by Giuseppe Catozzella is a fictionalized account of the true story of Samia Yusuf Omar, a Somali girl who has one dream - to run. The book is a fictionalized account dramatically told. You may agree or disagree with that approach. However, strip away all the drama, and the story itself is still an amazing one. I find myself lost in the emotional story and the dramatic storytelling.

Read my complete review at

Reviewed for the
Elisa Grassa
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in English. The title is Little Warrior. An amazing story of determination and courage. A story of young woman who has a dream, and goals like other young women in the world.
This book opens your mind to the life of a young girl, Samia from Mogadishu, who has a dream to be an Olympic champion and the barriers and obstacles she faces to make her dream come true.
This book needs to be read by many to give us insight of what it's like to be a refugee.
This story is even more haunting
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fictionalized account of the life of Somali runner Samia Yusuf Omar, who represented her country at the 2008 Olympic Games. I couldn't have read this at a better time. When I remember the hoopla about Ryan Lochte's debacle in Brazil; when I read about endorsements drying up while I'm reading this book, I'm thinking, REALLY? Who CARES!!!!

What we should care about, is people like Samia. Their sheet determination, courage and drive. Their having NOTHING but a dream. A dream that is actualized, ye
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for school and I think that's a great reading. It hits you in every single piece of your heart and makes you understand how difficult is to live in countries like Somalia and Etiopia, as described in the book. The writing of Catozzella is very fluent and easy to follow and he always chose the perfect words that fitted better the line.
Loved it!
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a good but heartbreaking story. Samia, a young girl living in war torn Somalia, dreams of competing in the London Olympics. The difficulties she has to overcome to begin to achieve this ambition would be overwhelming to anyone, let alone a young teenager. Based on the true story of Samia Omar, her family and her determination to succeed.
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He was born in Milan and studied philosophy at the University of Milan. After graduating, he moved to Australia. After living in Sydney for an extended period, he returned to his native Milan. He has been nominated by the UN Goodwill Ambassador UNHCR.

Catozzella has published across multiple literary genres, including plays, short stories and novels, and writes on the main Italian newspapers La Rep

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