Harry Miller's Run by David Almond

Harry Miller's Run

Written by David Almond
Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

9+ readers   7+ readers   UKLA 2017   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Award-winning David Almond tells a lively story which captures the exuberance of a trio of lads and one girl who set off one hot summer morning to run from their homes in Newcastle to South Shields. There’s no training, no special kit, no crowds – just the gang enjoying the freedom to run and the kindness of many who keep them fed and watered along the way. And it is a distance of thirteen miles so exactly half a marathon. Old Harry, now walking with a frame and on his way to a care home, tells young Liam, a boy in the present who has just got a place in the junior Great North Run, all about the trip and the magic of it. In doing so he shows a slice of a different kind of childhood set in David Almond’s home ground of Newcastle and the surrounding area. In this beautifully produced new edition, Salvatore Rubbino’s illustrations also capture the period and the sense of place brilliantly. ~ Julia Eccleshare

One of our Books of the Year 2015 - now out in paperback.


Harry Miller's Run by David Almond

That's reet, lad! Run! There's a wolf at your tail! Run for your lovely life! A joyful, uplifting story of times gone by, from the internationally acclaimed author of Skellig, illustrated in full colour by the award-winning illustrator of A Walk in London.

Liam just wants to go out running with his mates - it's not long till the Junior Great North Run, and there's training to be done. But Mam needs him today, to help old Harry clear out his house. Harry knows a thing or two about running. When he was a lad, he says, he ran all the way from Newcastle to South Shields. But Harry, says Mam, that's thirteen miles! Harry grins. Different times, he says. This is the story of that day: of sweltering heat, clattering boots, briny sea air and the heavenly taste of ice cream; the day when Harry and his pals ran and ran and ran through the blazing sunlight all the way to the sea.


First written in association with the Great North Run, this evocative tale inspired by Almond's own childhood is published here as a full-colour gift edition, with glorious artwork from illustrator Rubbino.David Almond's fluid prose flavoured with the evocative cadence of the north-east dialect enables readers to vividly ex perience old Harry's account of running with three friends from Newcastle to South Shields when he was just a child. The Bookseller

This is a wonderful book! The illustrations perfectly match the story, which gives such a strong sense of period. Wonderfully evocative of much simpler times, it leaves a lasting impression of hope for the future and belief in humanity. Inis Reading Guide

David Almond's fluid prose flavoured with the evocative cadence of the north-east dialect enables readers to vividly experience old Harry's account of running with three friends from Newcastle to South Shields when he was just a child. Marilyn Brocclehurst The Bookseller

...a joyful, uplifting story of times gone by from the internationally acclaimed author of Skellig, illustrated in full colour by the award-winning illustrator of A Walk in London. Loma Books

David Almond's fast-moving tale brings the past and present together in two stories about childhood and the excitement of running. [...] Salvatore Rubbino's illustrations for this new edition capture the period and the sense of pace brilliantly. Guardian

About the Author

David Almond

David Almond was our Guest Editor in September 2011 CLICK HERE to see his choices.

As a child

I grew up in a large Catholic family in Felling-on-Tyne: four sisters and one brother. I always knew I'd be a writer – I wrote stories and stitched them into little books. I had an uncle who was a printer, and in his printing shop I learned my love of black words on white pages. I loved our local library and dreamed of seeing books with my name on the cover on its shelves. I also dreamed of playing for Newcastle United (and I still wait for the call!). There was much joy in my childhood, but also much sadness: a baby sister died when I was 7; my dad died when we were all still young; my mum was always seriously ill with arthritis. But it was a childhood, like all childhoods, that provided everything a writer needs, and it illuminates and informs everything I write.

As an adult

After school, I read English and American Literature. When I graduated I became a teacher – long holidays, short days, just perfect for a writer. After 5 years, I gave up the job and lived in a commune in rural Norfolk where I wrote and met my partner Sara Jane. I wrote a long adult novel that was rejected by every UK publisher. I had two collections of short stories published by the tiny IRON Press. I started another adult novel, put it aside, and suddenly, out of the blue, I found myself writing Skellig. It was as if the story had been waiting for me, and once I began, it seemed to write itself. I hadn't expected to write a children's novel, but in some way it was the natural outcome of everything I'd done before, and was the stepping-stone to everything I've done since. I now live in Northumberland with Sara Jane and our daughter Freya. I'm a full-time writer. Sara Jane makes ceramics, Freya goes to school.

As an artist

For years, I was hardly published and hardly anyone knew about me apart from a handful of keen fans. And I made just about no money at all from writing. That didn't really matter to me. I'd keep on writing, no matter what. Then I wrote Skellig and everything changed. I began to sell lots of books, to be translated into many languages, to travel, to win lots of prizes. I've written a number of novels after Skellig, including Kit's Wilderness, The Fire-Eaters and Clay. There have been stage versions of the novels, and films and an opera are on their way. I used to write in the attic at home, but there were lots of distractions – especially from email and telephone. So last year, I had a cabin built at the bottom of the garden. It's very nice, blue-grey and surrounded by trees. I have a radiator to keep me warm and I have a tap and a kettle for making tea. Every morning – when I'm at home and not travelling or making school visits or talking to people on the phone or answering emails – I carry my laptop down to the cabin and I set to work.

Things you didn't know about David Almond

I once held the school high-jump record – 5 ft 2.5 inches.

I have a pet rabbit called Bill who can grunt.

I dream about football – and kick in my sleep!

I love Japanese food – except for the thing I was given once that looked like an alien's brain.

I've taken part in three Great North Runs (half-marathons).

My favourite place is Upper Swaledale in Yorkshire.

I love bikes, camping and fires.

My first TV appearance was as an altar boy in a televised mass when I was eleven.

My grandfather was a bookie (he took bets on horse races). His advice? "Never bet." He also told me, "Never read novels. They're all just lies."

My nickname at school was Dai, and several old friends still call me that.

Julia Eccleshare on David Almond:

One of the best-loved and finest writers of today, David Almond made an immediate impact with Skellig, his first book. The moving story of a boy’s discovery of a strange creature in the shed which can be interpreted in many ways introduced some to the recurrent themes of David Almond’s writing. Infused with a touch of magic or the supernatural or ‘belief’, David Almond writes sensitively about the inner complexities of growing up. Much influenced by the landscape of Tyneside where he was brought up and still lives, David Almond’s books have a strong sense of place especially in titles such as Heaven’s Eyes, The Fire-Eater and Kit’s Wilderness. Although often clearly set in some particular time, there is a timeless quality to David Almond’s stories which give them enduring appeal.

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64 pages
Interest Age: From 7


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Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

1st September 2016




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