Title: The Boy Who Ran
Author: Michael Selden
Genre: Middle Grade Native American Culture
Number of Pages: 160
Synopsis: IPPY Gold Medal Winner, Juvenile Fiction for 2014
The sole survivor when his village was massacred, the boy spends his days alone in the woods, feeling more kinship with the animals than with the people who took him in but never really accepted him.
THE BOY WHO RAN is a middle grade novel about a Native American orphan trying to find a place in the world. It's written like a parable, following the boy's struggle to be seen and treated like one of The People.
Until now, he's been satisfied to live in his own world, not really paying attention to what the others did. He's had one overwhelming obsession: to run faster than anyone else and to do so in absolute silence as he moves through the forest, like a ghost.
It's been seven years since he was found hungry and bleeding by a hunting party after escaping the massacre. The villagers think his mind is broken and as half animal—they don't know exactly what to do with him but are kind hearted and make sure he's fed and sheltered.
The story is set six thousand years ago in the mid-archaic period in North American.
The Boy Who Ran gives an exciting glimpse into the life of a Native American boy and his struggle to find acceptance among a new tribe.
A violent massacre in their village leaves his mother fatally wounded and in his haunting dreams he can still sense her fear as she instructs him to RUN. Homeless and alone the boy finds refuge with a new tribe, but as an outsider he is never really accepted into their tight nit community. He has never spoken and prefers to spend time by himself in the forest. He knows The People think little of him and in turn he has never been grateful for the many years of food and shelter they have provided. One day the boy sees a hunting lesson being taught to some of the other boys and he becomes intrigued. It's at this moment he realizes his life must change.
The Boy Who Ran is such a fascinating story and the author's exquisite attention to detail makes it easy to imagine all the boy experienced in his young life. I like that the story teaches readers to never judge a book by its cover. The People assume the boy is a mute and animal like. He is shuffled from one family to next and never feels like he belongs. He overhears their mean comments and feels their coldness. But, when they take time to notice him they discover he has much to offer.
This is an exceptionally well written enjoyable read. I highly recommend picking up a copy. Available on Amazon.