‘The Fastest Boy in the World’ written by British author Elizabeth Laird is a story that celebrates how a young child overcomes all odds when he runs twenty miles, a race against time, to save his grandfather.
Young Solomon loves to run! But he knows that his dream of being part of the Olympic team alongside his heroes, the Ethiopian national running team, is just that – a dream. Who would give a chance to a poor boy who stays in the tiny town of Kidame? When his grandfather asks him to accompany him on a trip to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, Solomon is excited and worried – excited to get a chance to catch a glimpse of his heroes and worried that his grandfather can’t handle the trip. But his grandfather has other plans up his sleeve, and they go very wrong when his grandfather falls unexpectedly ill. Eleven-year-old Solomon is all alone in a strange city and the only way to save his grandfather is to go back to his hometown for help. How can he make the 20 mile trip back home when he has no money and no one to help him? Read the book to find out.
For parents: Laird’s obvious pride and affection for Ethiopia, its culture, and history shines through this uplifting sports themed story. It was interesting to observe how the grandfather who is almost a peripheral character in the beginning, becomes centre stage to the story; this gently points out that the elderly might have led interesting lives that youngsters can learn from. Solomon, a young child, takes up the challenge of getting help for his grandfather against considerable odds, and through his story will inspire young readers that they can achieve the seemingly impossible if they set their mind to it. A beautiful story about the love of a sport and friendship, this is a stand out read.
Age appropriate for 8+ years.
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