It's very possible that at some point in the past year you've come across the extraordinary story of ultra-marathoner Dion Leonard and Gobi, the small stray dog who, in June 2016, became his unlikely companion during the gruelling Gobi Desert Run -- and subsequently inspired a worldwide, against-all-odds search to see them reunited after becoming separated in a city of more than three million people.
On August 29, 2017, parents and young readers can share in experiencing this powerful true story of friendship, compassion, courage, and love with the release of Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart [picture book, 4-8 years] and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey [Young Reader’s Edition, 8-12 years] with Thomas Nelson.
"Finding Gobi was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but her finding me was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced,” says Dion, who on June 13th, 2017 released the adult trade paperback edition of Finding Gobi to rave reviews.
“Before we met, Gobi was on her own for an unknown period of time. We have no idea what she saw, experienced, felt, or even ate while she was in the desert,” he continues. “I think it’s an especially important thing for kids to remember, that we never know each other’s stories. We never know what our friend or our classmate, or even sometimes our family members are going through, which makes it even more important to always be kind to the people who come into our lives.”
Much, much more than a ‘man meets dog’ story, Gobi is a truly heartwarming, true-to-life tale that will uplift and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds. Among the topics and messages both the picture book and YRE promote include:
- Adopt, don’t shop! Animal welfare and reframing the way children and families look at rescue and shelter dogs
- Hope, even in difficult circumstances: There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and you never know where you’ll make new friends
- Community: How the kindness of strangers across the globe helped to bring Dion and Gobi back together against seemingly impossible odds
- China and the Gobi Desert! Fun facts about the country, culture, and people of this far-flung part of the world
- Perseverance, courage, and working through obstacles: Valuable life lessons from the physical and mental challenges ultra-marathoners face
Dion Leonard is a 41-year-old Australian who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with his wife Lucja. Dion has not only completed but competed in some of the world’s toughest ultra marathons across the planet’s most inhospitable landscapes. This includes running across the brutal Moroccan Sahara desert twice in the 250km Marathon Des Sables and also twice across South Africa's Kalahari Desert, also 250km. Dion's latest 250km race across the Gobi Desert in China turned out to be a completely different race, where he fell in love with a stray dog (later named Gobi) that followed him during the week and who would change both of their lives forever.
Follow Dion and Gobi on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and at www.findinggobi.com.
Pre-order Gobi: A Little Dog With a Big Heart (picture book) and Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog’s Big Journey (Young Reader’s Edition) from Thomas Nelson today. Both titles will be available for purchase wherever books are sold on August 29, 2017.