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Book Review: Soul of a Butterfly by Hamza Naeem, age 9

I chose to read this book because my dad had read it and thought I would like it, and he was right, I absolutely loved it!

In ‘The Soul of a Butterfly’, Muhammad Ali takes a spiritual journey through the seasons of life, from his childhood to the present, and shares the beliefs that have served him well. After fighting the fiercest bouts in boxing history, in the book Ali faces his most powerful foe outside the boxing ring. Like many people he faces tests and trials e.g., Ali battles an illness called Parkinson’s disease that limits his physical abilities, but he says, “I have gained more than I have lost… I have never had a more powerful voice than I have now.” Ali also reflects on his faith and the strength it gave him during his greatest challenge, when he lost his boxing career because he would not compromise his beliefs. He describes how his study of Islam brought him to a greater awareness of life’s purpose. Ali’s reflections on topics ranging from moral courage and a belief in god, to respect for those who differ from us, are very inspirational.

Favourite Story

There are different stories in the book but my favourite story was when Muhammad Ali fought a big bully named Corky Baker in his youth. Corky was known to knock out grown men. He terrorized the whole neighbourhood including Ali. Ali then asked Corky for a boxing match but Corky said it was for sissies. The neighbourhood called him a coward, so he quickly changed his mind. So, Ali fought and fought until the second round when Corky said, “It’s not fair” and ran off. Ali didn’t care, Corky had left with a blackened eye and a bloody nose. The whole neighbourhood celebrated and gave Ali a title, “King of the street”. The story taught me to overcome my fears and stand up to bullies. I also liked what he called his mum and dad, Papa Cash and Mama Bird; I thought these were cool and funny nicknames.

Favourite Poem

I also liked the poems in this book especially the one called Black Pride. It was kind of funny because at first it was all black then at the end it was white. Here are the lyrics:

I woke up this morning feeling good and black, I got out of my black bed, I put on my black robe, I put on my best black records, and drunk some black coffee, Then I put on my black shoes, and I walked out of my black door… and oh Lord, white snow!

I thought it was really funny. The poem shows that everything positive for Ali was black and so he was proud of his skin colour and didn’t feel ashamed or uncomfortable.

The ‘Soul of a Butterfly’ gives an insight into Ali’s inner thoughts and feelings and provides wisdom to help a person in tough times and achieve great things in life. I hope people will start to read this book and it inspire them to write a review just as it had inspired me.


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