Jesse Owens Dreams — a story by Canaan Pettit

Young Readers League 2019 “Hidden History” Writing Contest

1st place

(Category 1: ages 8-11)


“Jesse Owens Dreams”

by Canaan Pettit

Grade 5


Summary:  A runner is inspired by Jesse Owens’ words, “The best part about running is feeling free.”


Wouldn’t you want to run as fast as Jesse Owens? Well I would! If I got to shake his hand it would be like getting one hundred dollars.

Let me tell you what happened to me on September 20, 2019 at 3:47 pm. I was sitting under an oak tree reading about my favorite track runner, Jesse Owens. I looked up in the sky and started

daydreaming. Jesse’s words came to me, “The best part about running is feeling free, when the wind is blowing in your face and a small breeze touches the tip of my leg hair.”

Then all of a sudden I was in a race, I could feel a small breeze in my face. Then the announcer said, “Take your marks! Get set! Go!” Boom! The Colt 1911 went off! I was off. Five players

were in front of me, and three other players behind me. I got passed by two other players. But Jesse’s words kept coming, “The best part about running is feeling free.”

I was running so hard I couldn’t feel my legs. I passed numbers 61, 63 and 65. I just had number 70 to beat. I sped up and waited until he was tired, then pushed for a big burst of energy. I only had 100 yards left. I was right on his tail. Then, Boom! I hit the string, I won!

The announcer said, “My name is Jesse Owens.” I could only feel my heart pounding. Boom! Boom! Boom! The last words he said, and now I said it too, “The best part about running is feeling free.”

The hidden part of the history of Jesse Owens is that he makes dreams come true. He made my dreams come true.



CLICK HERE to view the full list of the Hidden History Contest Winners:


Jane Gov

Jane is a Youth Services Librarian at Pasadena Central Library. She purchases YA books for the library system and maintains the teen booklist, online resources, and webpages. She oversees Teen & YA programs including Summer Reading, Advisory Board, Zine, book reviewers, Teen Mental Health Initiative, and volunteers. She also coordinates the library's Innovation Lab, STEAM Kits project, and Young Readers League. She also conducts a few kids events and storytimes. Jane is a contributor to VOYA Magazine and a YALSA Board member.  A majority of her free time is spent with her two corgis Tyrion and Gimli. She tweets as @missjanegov.

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