NEW IBERIA, La. – Published author Dion Leonard visited Belle Place Elementary School Tuesday during Literacy Week. The New Iberia school also held a book fair to celebrate Read Across America during his visit.
In 2017, Leonard's story became a New York Times and Sunday Times Bestseller and has now been published in 23 languages worldwide. Dion and his dog Gobi's heartwarming and inspiring true story has appeared on television around the world. "Finding Gobi" is a memoir based on an international news story, centered around Dion Leonard, an ultramarathoner who befriends a stray dog in China's harsh Gobi Desert, according to the book's website. The young dog, who later earned the name "Gobi," proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart as she went step for step with Dion over the Tian Shan Mountains, across massive sand dunes, through yurt villages, and past the black sands of the Gobi Desert, keeping pace with him for nearly 80 miles of the 155-mile race. Before Dion could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept. With the help of strangers and a viral, global outpouring of assistance on the internet, he tracked her down, reuniting forever with the amazing animal that changed his life and has captured the hearts of millions worldwide.
The impact and inspiration from his story has led to the development of a movie in production with Sony Pictures & Tencent Pictures for a 2023 release.
Belle Place Elementary students and teachers were able to meet Dion and Gobi in person on February 23, where Dion shared the true and inspirational story with all the students.
Kelsye Baudoin, Librarian said "We at Belle Place Elementary are so excited to have our first ever author visit. It's so important for our students to understand the process of how books are made, and to meet a published author who can help them connect what they learn in school to real life. We are so grateful to Dion Leonard for taking the time to tell us his story and spread book joy for our students. And of course, all of the kids are very excited to meet Gobi in person."
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