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Auma's Long Run Hardcover – September 1, 2017
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"Auma treats readers to beautiful descriptions of the world around her but also gives them a candid look at the fear and superstition surrounding AIDs in its early days in Kenya as well as the grief of loss. . . . Honestly told, Auma's tale humanizes and contextualizes the AIDs experience in Kenya without sensationalizing it."(Starred Review) --Kirkus Reviews
"A hard-hitting story of a resilient and intelligent girl who bravely confronts a devastating health crisis." (Starred Review) --Publishers Weekly
"[A] moving testament to the power of determination to overcome overwhelming odds is a recommended purchase for all libraries."(Starred Review) --School Library Journal
From the Inside Flap
Auma has been running all her life. In her small Kenyan village, she's a track star with big dreams. A track scholarship could allow her to attend high school and maybe even become a doctor someday. But a strange new sickness called AIDS is ravaging the village, and when her father becomes ill, Auma's family needs her help at home. Soon more people are getting sickeven dyingand no one seems to know why. Now Auma faces a choice. She can either quit school and go to work to support her struggling family]]or leave her loved ones behind to pursue her own future. Auma knows her family is depending on her. But leaving might be the only way to find the answers to her questions about this new disease. [Back of Jacket]: One afternoon, as I looked at Baba, a silent fear gripped my heart. He spent every day in bed, he barely ate, and his cough was worse. Everyone had completely stopped talking about his illness. I wanted to talk. Even if no one had the answers, I wanted to ask a million questions. And I wanted to ask them out loud. Why couldn't we talk about it? [Back Flap]: Eucabeth Odhiambo is a professor of Teacher Education at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. As a classroom teacher she has taught all grades between kindergarten and middle school. This is her first novel.
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It is author Eucabeth Odhiambo's debut novel and was released less than two months ago.
It tells the tale of 12 year old Auma who lives with her family in a small village in Kenya. It is set in the 1980s when AIDS was first rearing its ugly head in Africa and when very little information was known about the disease.
People are dying every week in Auma's small village and noone really knows why. They nicknamed the disease "Slim," probably because patients wasted away before they died.
People didn't understand why only adults were dying. The young and the elderly seemed to be spared. However, the young were often left as orphans and had to struggle to earn enough money so they wouldn't starve. Unfortunately, many of these "AIDS Orphans" did end up starving to death.
Auma wants to get educated. She wants to become a doctor But, to do that she must first attend high school. How can she attend school even if she does receive a scholarship when her family needs her to either marry or work to keep her siblings alive?
This tale is not the story of any specific individual or family. Instead, it is the story of what many in Kenya endured before proper information was learned about this heinous disease.
AUMA'S LONG RUN contains wonderfully evocative writing that brings the setting to life for readers. This is demonstrated even in the simplest of sentences, such as: "The rays of the setting sun felt like tongues of fire upon my back."
The characters are heart-breakingly believable and it is impossible for readers not to feel empathy for Auma and her family. The fact that author Eucabeth Odhiambo grew up in Kenya explains why the setting feels so authentic.
Part of why I like this book so much is that the author does not shy away from the horror of the AIDS victims that Auma encounters. The author wrote this book with the education of readers in mind, and educate she does. Auma sees the lesions and sores appear on her mother’s skin and takes care of her as she wastes away.
This is important. Readers need to know that AIDS is a horrific disease. As Auma learns more about the disease ravaging her village, the reader also learns. Eucabeth Odhiambo has written a story that both entertains and educates her readers and for that, she should be applauded.
I highly recommend this book and rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars for Middle-grade readers. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
In many ways, Auma is just like girls anywhere in the world. But her lifestyle is foreign to most Western readers. She has to walk to the stream to fetch water, she lives in a mud house with no electricity or indoor plumbing, and has cows in the yard. Her father works in Nairobi and sends money home to the family. Everything changes when he arrives home earlier than expected. Soon both he and Auma's mother have died of AIDS.
Auma loves to run and has become a local star, winning most of her races. She wants to earn a scholarship for her running so she can study to become a doctor. With her parents' sickness, her mother's efforts to marry her off, and her responsibilities caring for her younger siblings, it starts looking like she won't get to follow her dreams.
Auma's Long Run is a touching story that brings the realities of poverty and sickness in rural Kenya into focus, personalizing village life in a way that statistics and new items can't. The target audience may be young girls, but boys and adults will be enriched and will enjoy this story of Auma's coming of age in Africa.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!