Elite wheelchair racer, wrestler, and America’s Got Talent contestant Zion Clark joins with New York Times best-selling author James S. Hirsch for a stunning memoir—recounting childhood adversity, awe-inspiring perseverance, and self-invention.
When a baby named Zion was born in 1997 to an imprisoned, drug-addicted mother, his future seemed bleak. Born without legs due to a rare condition called caudal regression syndrome, Zion was abandoned and shunted to a foster-care system ill-equipped to care for him. In this stirring memoir, readers will follow as he is bounced from home to home, subjected to abuse, neglect, and inconceivable hardship. Somehow, Zion finds supportive angels along the way: his first two foster families, who offer a haven; the wrestling coach who senses his “warrior spirit” and nurtures it; the woman of fierce faith who adopts a seventeen-year-old and cheers his every match. From play-by-play narration of how Zion adapts wrestling moves to defeat able-bodied opponents, wielding phenomenal arm and hand strength, to accounts of his extraordinary work ethic, unflagging optimism, and motivational speaking, this is an inspirational story of courage that will appeal to any athlete who respects determination, any young person facing adversity, and any reader who wants to believe in the human spirit.
About the Author
Zion Clark is an elite athlete, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur, as well as the coauthor, with James S. Hirsch, of Zion Unmatched. He was featured in a short Netflix documentary and has appeared in segments on NBC's Nightly News,CNN’s The Human Factor, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He lives in Los Angeles.
James S. Hirsch is a New York Times best-selling author of several books, including Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter; Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race Massacre and Its Legacy; and Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend. He is also the coauthor, with Zion Clark, of Zion Unmatched. He lives outside of Boston.
Renowned athlete and motivational speaker Clark describes the harrowing experiences he endured growing up as a Black boy in Ohio's foster-care system. . . . Readers will be in awe of the author’s amazing physical and mental strength to pursue all of his dreams. This memoir will appeal to teenagers who need to hear positive affirmations on never giving up. Clark is living proof that if you put in the work, you never know where the world may take you. —Booklist (starred review)
Clark and co-author Hirsch critique the numerous challenges of life in foster care, such as instability and foster parents’ lack of training in caring for disabled children. . . . Clark feels his most important contribution is being a role model, especially to kids. . . his motivational advice is refreshingly down-to-earth, acknowledging many ways to make a difference and encouraging kids to face tough situations one step at a time. Honest and eye-opening. —Kirkus Reviews
Concise, honest. . . Clark’s forthright recollections of wrestling with the “dual stigma of being disabled and being Black,” and how overcoming his adversities prompted him to support others’ endeavors to face their own, presents an illuminating look at the trials of one person maneuvering the foster care system, and details his views that community support and faith are the key to navigating life. —Publishers Weekly
In this autobiography, motivational speaker and accomplished athlete Zion Clark shows readers what it looks like to overcome life’s every obstacle to find success. . . . Aside from his remarkable life, what makes Clark’s story stand out are his deep reserves of positivity and determination. . . [Clark] offers invaluable insights into living with a disability, struggling with prosthetics, and wheelchair use. . . a lively, inspirational read. —School Library Connection