Ulf Stark might be my favourite writer in the world and this book is as good as his best. Ulf writes absolutely from the child within.

Julia Marshall, Publisher

The Runaways

$19.99

Grandson and grandpa run away together for a one-night adventure.

Translated by Julia Marshall

Read the first chapter here.

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  • Description

    “I hate the food here,” Grandpa said. “ They’ve taken all the joy out of it.
    Not even the water tastes any good.”
    “Perhaps you should run away,” I suggested.
    “I did a lot of that when I was young,” he said. “I think it’s a bit late now…”
    But by the time I had to leave for the bus, we’d made a plan.

    Grandpa’s in the hospital and hating it. He swears at the nurses and
    makes trouble for everyone. Dad finds it too stressful to visit, but Gottfried Junior visits Grandpa as often as he’s allowed, and when he’s not allowed, he goes anyway.
    Grandpa thinks only of the place he was happiest—the island where he lived with Grandma. He wants to go back one last time, but they won’t let him out of the hospital.
    Gottfried Junior and Grandpa take things into their own hands. If running away is the only way to the island, then they’ll be runaways.


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Sweden
    Reader Age 6-8 year, 8-12 year
    Book Size
    ISBN

  • Reviews

    1. Netgalley – Reviewer

      This quick-paced, never-a-dull-moment middle-grade chapter book hits on a variety of topics: lying, and whether a lie can be good; family, and the differences and similarities that can bring together or drive apart its members; kindness, and the importance of saying the things that need to be said before it’s too late; and death, whether it’s ever too late to change.

    2. Netgalley – Reviewer

      Some very tender moments, complimented by beautiful illustrations.

    3. Netgalley – Educator

      It is told in a simple way with beautiful, bright illustrations that are as important as the text and contrast and support the story really nicely.

    4. Netgalley / Goodreads

      I would recommend this book as a great one for reading any time, but also as a way to talk about death and dying.

    5. Live to Read to Live

      What a beautiful glimpse into one man’s life and the surprising ways two generations connect and look out for one another. Everyone needs a friend like that!

    6. The Horn Book

      In this iteration [of a child helping an old person go on the lam] every emotional effect is fully earned, and the final beat — in which we learn, obliquely, that Grandpa has died — is deeply affecting.

    7. Orange Marmalade Books

      This piece, a posthumous publication by renowned Swedish author Ulf Stark, illustrated by fabulous Belgian artist, Kitty Crowther, is one of the most subversive, and simultaneously deeply-human stories I’ve met.

    8. Children of Books

      … an authentic, fun, irreverent yet moving tribute to the very special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren … Big themes are brought at child’s height, holding on to humour and realism. Kitty Crowther stays true to this purpose, quietly illustrating the key scenes with her unique vibrant style.

    9. The New York Times

      The writing is unflashy and deadpan except for when it’s unflashy and musical. Crowther’s bright, naïve pencil illustrations fit the offbeat text.

    10. Starred review, Booklist

      Deftly drawn and sometimes amusing, the character portrayals are utterly convincing. Expressive full-page illustrations add color to the pages while supporting the story’s tone. An unusual adventure story with a core of mutual grandfather-grandson affection.

    11. Annika Edlund

      Grandpa is in the hospital. He’s not a very popular patient, but his grandson Ulf is very fond of him. The feeling is mutual: something hard for Ulf’s dentist father to understand. So they decide to plan an escape. No surprise that it turns out to be a magical, if slightly strenuous weekend. Pastel drawings by Kitty Crowther underlay the text with light and dark, anger and joy, dreams and reality, all melding into a gorgeous whole. I love it! — ALMA Jury Member, Annika Edlund

    12. Publishers Weekly

      Starred review, Publishers Weekly (US), March 2019

      Autumn-hued illustrations by Crowther (Stories of the Night) juxtapose the dull hospital against glorious piney islands and a light-filled sea. Stark straightforwardly conveys family tensions, end-of-life concerns, and intergenerational adoration alongside an archipelago’s worth of vivid details.

    13. Kirkus Reviews

      Starred review, Kirkus Review (US), January 2019

      A touching, realistic, gently humorous story of how a sensitive boy copes with his treasured grandfather’s decline.


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