Summer is in full swing. Which means spending some afternoons reading at the neighborhood pool, dinner on the patio, farmer’s market, mosquito bites and annoyance that a couple of tomato plants still have no blossoms. This summer there has been less reading because of the Denver Writing Project. I am in the trenches right now and loving it, so expect a non book related post in a couple of weeks about my time as a Fellow.
My reading so far this summer has been some major misses (The Tragedy of Arthur), but mostly incredible hits. One of the latter is my first read aloud of the new school year. I initially entered the blog world of kid lit to find titles for new books to share with my students. In six weeks I am excited that I get to share Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne with a new group of third graders.
Noah is an eight year old that runs away from home. It is not an abusive home just a sad home. He ends up in a very odd small village. There is a magical tree, a talking donkey and dachshund, and an old man that shares his incredible life’s tale with the young Noah. As the old man tells Noah his story, young Noah starts to realize that running away might not be the best thing to do.
The story takes place in England. There are humorous references to the Irish and Scots. Mr. Boyne points out that the Scots are the second smartest people in the world right after the Irish. Kids in Southie will get this, but it is truly in the story for the adult reader. At times the setting seems to take place in the “olden days” but then there is a reference to a mobile phone. This will make for interesting conversations about the setting in stories.
When I get to the end of some books I am sad that I don’t get to spend more time with my new friends, there are endings when I say “you’ve got to be kidding that’s it?” and in the words of Goldilocks there are ending that are just right. This book is that. Don’t worry there is no spoiler, but I enjoyed the ending. It left me with the feeling that I knew the whole story. Luckily, though I get to spend more time with Noah, the Old Man, Donkey and Dachshund.
(Thank you Random House for the copy of the book, but I also purchased one at The Bookies. That one is being passed around by former students.)