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Children's Fiction General


by (author) Don Sawyer

Playfort Publishing
Initial publish date
Nov 2011
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
    List Price

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Running is a fast-paced story about friendship, redemption, and the triumph of love. Louie and Paul come from very different worlds. Yet they have one thing in common - tragedies have shattered their families. To bury their hurt, they run fast and relentlessly. A chance accident on the trails brings the two boys together, and an unlikely friendship grows. Joined by Annie, another loner who has secrets of her own, they form a threesome that runs like the wind in the hills above their town. But a disastrous attempt by Paul to join the school's cross country squad and an explosive encounter with their star runner turns the alliance upside down. Overcoming their anger and loneliness, the three find a way to become a team again - and hatch an outrageous plot along the way!

About the author

Don and Jan lived all over the United States and Canada before settling in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, in 1980. Melissa had shown up three years earlier and was immediately the cutest and smartest baby ever born. Farish came along in 1982. Melissa wasn't initially convinced that having a little sister would be fun, but eventually came around. Melissa now lives in New Orleans, where she is the Executive Director of the Youth Empowerment Project. Farish resides in Philadelphia, where she also works with inner-city kids. Both Jan and Don have sort of retired, but not really. Don writes books and articles and gives workshops. He still does development work in Africa. Jan is active in about a zillion volunteer groups and is a literacy consultant. When they find spare time, they enjoy travelling and visiting their daughters and sharing the girls' exciting lives.

Don Sawyer's profile page

Excerpt: Running (by (author) Don Sawyer)

The trail they’d been running on wound through the wooded hills that surrounded the town of Craven Valley. Even with shortcuts, it was going to be a long trip back. Paul grabbed Louie’s hand and pulled himself up, wincing in pain as he tried to put weight on his right foot. “Damn it, Kid,” Paul muttered through clenched teeth. “I’m not sure this is going to work. Maybe you should leave me here and go get help.” Louie shook his head. “Nope.” Louie looked up at the sky. “Getting too late,” he said. “Dark soon and it’s getting cold. We need to get you out of here. We can do it.” He pulled Paul’s arm over his shoulder and helped him to a nearby birch tree. “Here, hold on.” Paul put his hand out and braced himself against the tree, holding his swollen ankle off the ground. Louie disappeared into the woods, returning a few minutes later with a sturdy fir branch. He was effortlessly whittling off the smaller branches with a large folding pocketknife, cleaning the limb into a presentable walking stick. Paul was impressed. “Chingachgook. Last of the Mohicans.” “Cree, actually,” Louie said, not looking up. “You’re a Cree? I thought they all lived up north.” “Some of us actually have cars and venture south occasionally.” “Funny guy,” Paul said. “What’s with the knife?Looks damned sharp.” Without a word, Louie handed the walking stick to Paul. He put the knife blade against his forearm and glided it forward. Hair curled off like he was using a razor. “My father’s,” Louie said. “Didn’t leave me much, but he did leave me this. He always kept a whetstone in the house. Sharpened this nearly every day. Used to tell me that a man should never leave the house without a sharp knife. So I never do.” He snapped the knife shut and pushed it into a pocket in the back of his running shorts. “Even when I’m running.” He paused. “Especially when I’m running.” “Impressive,” Paul commented, testing the stick. “And thanks for the crutch.” Louie glanced up, his dark eyes unreadable. “Anytime,” he said. “He pointed his chin at Paul. “Put your right arm over my shoulder.” Paul did as he was told. By leaning against Louie’s shoulder and using the stick to brace himself as he swung his left foot forward, they soon established a rhythm. They weren’t fast but they were steady. Uphill sections were the hardest, and occasionally Paul would catch his right foot on a root or inadvertently drop it onto the trail, causing pain to shoot up his leg. They shuffled along in silence for many minutes, both concentrating on synchronizing their steps, moving together to cover the most ground without causing Paul to lose his balance. “Do you live here?” Paul finally asked as they hobbled down a gentle slope. Louie was silent for several steps. Paul wondered if he had heard him, or if he was going to reply if he had. “Sort of,” Louie said at last. Paul looked quizzically at the side of Louie’s face. “What do you mean, ‘Sort of?’ You either do or you don’t.” They continued to limp down the trail, Paul’s right arm over Louie’s shoulder, planting his stick and hopping forward with his left foot. “I live in a foster home. I don’t really live anywhere.” Paul glanced over at Louie again. Louie’s eyes stayed on the trail ahead. “Oh,” he said quietly. “But you’re new here, right? At the school?” “Just transferred in this August.” “Transferred in?” “Yeah. My foster parents tossed me out of my last place. Quesnel. Said I was disobedient. Which I was. I told them they were pigs.” He shrugged slightly. “Which they were. That was my fourth place.” The two had established a loping rhythm now, Louie leading with his right foot, Paul hopping along with his left. “Your fourth foster home?” Paul thought about it. “So this is number five. Since, like when?” Paul thought he noticed Louie’s jaw tighten. “Since they grabbed us. Six years ago.” They were on an even section of the path now, their steps cushioned by wet brown leaves. “Why’d they take you away in the first place?” Paul asked, wondering if he was going too far. But Louie only shrugged. “Lots of things. But mainly because I’m an Indian.” Paul turned back toward the rough path, grimacing as his right foot struck the ground. “You said ‘us.’” Paul felt Louie’s shoulders tighten. “I have a brother and sister.” Then he said nothing and they jogged erratically along in silence once more. “I will get them back,” Louie almost whispered after several minutes. “If it kills me, I will bring them home.” They were nearer the town now and could see lights begin to flicker on in houses in the distance as the late September afternoon sky began to darken. As they hobbled over the crest of a hill, they heard a commotion below them. They stopped, panting after the climb. Suddenly a tall blond boy, trailed by four or five others, all in the blue and gold Craven Valley Secondary School shorts and singlets, burst out of a tangle of trees. The leader looked up the trail. “Hey, out of the way!” he shouted, charging up the hillside. “We’re training,” he added contemptuously. Louie and Paul moved slightly to the side of the trail and watched as the boys ran smoothly by them, no one saying a word. “Thanks for the help!” Paul yelled angrily as the last boy disappeared over the hill.

Editorial Reviews

Twenty years later and still powerful and current, Don Sawyer's Where the Rivers Meet rings true to my experience as a First Nations teacher. It's neither shallow nor superficial - rather, its depth beckons to be explored. Now, Sawyer's latest book Running takes young adult readers down another true path. It will hold readers' attention to a surprising yet triumphant finish. - Brian Johnston

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