Go Shanti Go!: A Children's Book That Inspires All to Pursue Their Dreams

Pereira Sisters tell of Shanti's history-making story via illustrations to share the message of hope, care, and courage

PHOTO: GO SHANTI! GO


In a time where sporting events have suffered greatly across the globe, it is easy to forget the unique appeal of sport and its transformative power to change lives.


Indeed not only does sport bring people together from a multitude of backgrounds, in recent times it has also empowered young girls and women, fueling incredible journeys and breaking down mental barriers by bringing visibility and exposure to stories that would otherwise be unheard.

How timely it is then, to be reminded that we have some inspiring sporting stories of our own right here in sunny Singapore.

PHOTO: GO SHANTI! GO


Co-authored by Valerie and Shobi Pereira, and illustrated by Sienny Septibella, Go Shanti Go! is a children's book that looks to inspire and encourage the younger generation to never give up on their dreams, whatever they may be.


The story is based on the real life journey of Shanti, the youngest sister of the Pereira family, and current record holder of the Singapore women's 100m and 200m sprint events.


In 2015 Shanti Pereira broke a 42 year-long wait to help Singapore clinch its first gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games in the Women's 200m sprint event. It proved to be one of the Games' most defining moments and talked about events.

PHOTO: GO SHANTI! GO


Go Shanti Go! chronicles Shanti’s life thus far, from being inspired after watching her sister Valerie represent Singapore at the 2011 SEA Games (Jakarta-Palembang), to her own history-making gold medal performance in 2015.


SportPlus.SG had the chance recently to speak with the Pereira sisters to find out more about the book!


Will we be expecting Go Shanti Go! to be part of the Singapore Sports Museum at any time in the future?


It would definitely be an honor if the book were to eventually have a space in the Singapore Sports Museum. It was a historical triumph for Shanti, and participating on home ground made it extra special.


We always recall so clearly how the national stadium cheered for Shanti as she was racing and it still gives us goosebumps when we think about it. Not only because of how great the race was run, but also seeing, feeling, and hearing first hand how sports could bring people together.


Since the book was written before this year's Olympic games, would there be a sequel to it with the Olympics added to Shanti's story?


We’ve not really talked about a sequel, but when we think of all the athletes who competed in this Olympics, we are inspired by all their journeys leading up to the games. How they continued to train in a pandemic when it might have been easier to just give up.


We’re not sure how this could translate into a picture book for children, but we hope that these stories will be told in other ways. Shanti’s Olympic experience, like many other athletes, truly inspired many kids this year.

PHOTO: GO SHANTI! GO


Beyond giving hope, one of the key messages of the book is also that of care - how would you say this theme is carried in the context of today's sporting scene?


Athletes are required to make many sacrifices in their lives to achieve their sporting goals, be it school, their careers outside of sport etc. This can take a toll on athletes in so many different ways where they may feel inadequate in other aspects of life.


Therefore it is important that athletes have a proper support system that is always there for them throughout their challenging journeys, which is what this book also represents. It shows athletes that there will always be people there to support them, and encourage them to keep going, and to keep chasing their dreams.


Is this book purely a physical one, or will there be plans to make a digital version or e-book?


The book is purely physical, and we don’t have any plans at the moment to make an e-book.


What would be the greatest legacy for your family from this book - or what would give your family the greatest satisfaction / joy from this book from the general public, particularly for kids who may not be runners or doing track?


There have been so many positive messages from parents on how their young ones enjoy the book and start running around the house, but also how it helps them talk to their children about how it’s ok to lose, not giving up, and working hard to achieve your dreams.


This could apply to anyone, regardless of being runners or doing track. We had one reader who shared with us that her daughter has a condition that causes one of her legs to be quite inflexible and therefore needs to do a lot of stretches and exercises to strengthen it.

PHOTO: GO SHANTI! GO


She shared that the book helped encourage her daughter not to give up and that she could get better with hard work and practice, and that sometimes she would pretend to be Shanti and sprint up and down the house. We love that the book was able to do this.


If you are looking for a truly heart-warming story to teach your children about care, and to get them inspired and motivated amidst this pandemic, we strongly recommend Go Shanti Go!


The book is available at http://www.goshantigo.com/ for $14.90, and is recommended for children from 3 to 7 years-old.


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