The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird (class set, 30 books)

£157 Save £52.70

Eleven-year-old Solomon loves to run! The great athletes of the Ethiopian national team are his heroes and he dreams that one day he will be a gold-medal-winning athlete like them, in spite of his ragged shorts and bare feet. When his grandfather announces that he's going to take Solomon to Addis Ababa, Solomon cannot believe his ears. A trip to the capital? It's unfathomable. Solomon's joy is increased when he realizes that the Ethiopian running team will be doing a victory parade through the city that day. Maybe he'll get a glimpse of Haile Gebrselassie or Derartu Tulu?! But Solomon's grandfather has other plans. As Solomon follows him through the big, overwhelming streets, he learns something he cannot believe. The strict old man is a war hero who once risked his life to save a friend and has been in hiding ever since. When grandfather collapses, Solomon knows that getting help from his village is up to him. It's a twenty-mile run from the city to home, and grandfather's life hangs in the balance. Can the small bare-footed runner with the big heart do it?

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Elizabeth Laird interviewed by Hannah Love

Elizabeth Laird is a much loved author of everything from picture books to young adult novels, and has been shortlisted for the Carnegie medal six times. She has travelled and lived all over the world, and the inspiration this has provided shines through in her books, not least in her newest novel Dindy and the Elephant. Set in India in 1947 just before the the Indian Independence Act came into place, Dindy and her younger brother Pog live in the middle of a tea plantation with their parents. Whilst Laird claims that generally her characters come to her at the beginning of a story, and then she ‘starts to put flesh on the original idea,’ she acknowledges that in this instance not only her travels but her own family history inspired the novel.

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The Fastest Boy in the World discussion guide

Title: The Fastest Boy in the World



Author: Elizabeth Laird

Synopsis: Solomon runs everywhere – and always especially fast to school. He knows he is good and is convinced that he could join the roster of the great Ethiopian runners but he also knows that growing up in a small village, he’ll never have the chance to train as an elite athlete. When Solomon’s grandfather insists that he accompanies him on a trip to Addis Ababa, everything in his life changes.

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