cover image Harry Miller’s Run

Harry Miller’s Run

David Almond, illus. by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick, $16.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8975-9

In a moving and exuberantly illustrated short story, 11-year-old Liam has entered the Junior Great North Run with his friend Jacksie, but his Saturday morning practice is preempted by his mother, who takes him to visit their elderly neighbor. Harry sits shakily in his chair, waiting to be moved to a nursing home: “It smells of old bloke in here,” thinks Liam. “Pee and sweat and ancient clothes and dust.” But a long talk reveals that when Harry was Liam’s age, he and three friends ran all the way to South Shields from Newcastle one hot summer’s day: “Thirteen miles,” he tells them with pride. Treasured photographs help Harry tell the story of his epic run, and of the girl he loved. Narrated in the working-class British dialect common to several of Almond’s books, the story may require parental translation in places, yet it’s near impossible to remain untouched by Harry’s tale. Rubbino’s airy full-color pictures, splashed across the pages, reveal that the frail, elderly Harry lived a life every bit as full of action, fun, and pleasure as Liam’s. Ages 7–9. (Feb.)