Walk the Wild Road

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Overview

PRAISE FOR Walk the Wild Road

"Nigel Hinton is an inspired storyteller. Leo's walk along the wild road will captivate you as it did me. This is a wonderful tale!"
-Bernard Cornwell , International Bestselling author of Historical Fiction

"This is an uplifting, touching, and at times heart-wrenching novel ...

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Overview

PRAISE FOR Walk the Wild Road

"Nigel Hinton is an inspired storyteller. Leo's walk along the wild road will captivate you as it did me. This is a wonderful tale!"
-Bernard Cornwell , International Bestselling author of Historical Fiction

"This is an uplifting, touching, and at times heart-wrenching novel that addresses the issues of class and religious discrimination as well as poverty."
-School Library Journal

"Walk the Wild Road is more than a page-turner, it's a grip-you and hold-you yarn all the way from its opening paragraph."
-Malcolm Macdonald, author

"A gripping, epic tale of one brave boy's journey into his own future...Walk the Wild Road is a million stories distilled into an adventure you won't forget."
- Wesley Stace, aka John Wesley Harding

Leo took one step forward and then stopped. This was it-the road away from everything he knew. He could turn back. But then who would save his family from starvation? No, Leo was their last hope. He must go on...

The journey is not easy-he'll have to sleep on the streets, steal food, and even fight off greedy soldiers. Along the way, Leo discovers the kindness of strangers and the loyalty of friends. But he also learns there are some people you just can't trust, especially when you're on the wild road to America.

Nigel Hinton was born in 1941 in Britain during an air raid. He is the author of 16 books in the UK; he is the winner of the Silver Pen Award (Holland), shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, winner of the Children's Book Award in 1994, and recipient of the Lancashire Children's Book of the Year in 1999.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ursula Adams
Hinton, who found middle school success with Buddy (Puffin Books, 1983) and the Beaver Tower series (Puffin Books), prefaces this book by recounting that it is based on his grandfather's childhood journey from Poland in 1870. The story, however, is purely fictional. Leo and his large family are confronting difficult times during Prussia's war with France. They are very poor, so poor that they must sell off the eldest daughter to work in a tavern. Leo must also go out and seek a way to earn an income. The reader is then on the road with Leo as he escapes farmhands, meets his best friend and fellow traveler, Tomasz, and sails away and into danger with Patryk, a sailor he befriends. The story moves from adventure to adventure and details many trials, often tragic, that Leo must endure. Filled with richly developed characters, it is ultimately a story of friendship and loyalty. The ending is a bit unresolved, leaving readers to wonder if a sequel might be on the horizon. All in all, Walk the Wild Road is a clearly written tale that is best suited for readers who like a touching story heavy with adventure. Reviewer: Ursula Adams
Kirkus Reviews

After he punches a nobleman's deserving son, 11-year-old Leo must flee or face prison, so he takes to the road in a Poland being torn apart by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Determined to make for the sea and find a way to America, he is joined by artful dodger Tomasz, a likable, streetwise 14-year-old on a quest of his own. Along the way, they encounter their share of misfortune as well as a series of adults, some kindly and helpful, others only interested in taking advantage of the youths. The sense of place and time is strongly conveyed, including poverty, brutal prejudice and an unfair class system. The two main characters are reasonably well developed, and the obstacles they face are never minimized in this coming-of-age tale. But sentence structure rarely varies, colorful imagery that would have lifted it to a higher level is lacking and the plot-driven narrative moves forward at a measured, too-predictable pace. These factors all conspire to keep this from rising above a crowded field. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402243776
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.12 (w) x 5.68 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Nigel Hinton was born in 1941 in Britain during an air raid. He is the author of 16 books in the UK; he is the winner of the Silver Pen Award (Holland), shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, winner of the Children's Book Award in 1994, and recipient of the Lancashire Children's Book of the Year in 1999.

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Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One

Leo was the first to see the storks.

He was on the high bank overlooking his house when he heard the flapping of wings. He looked up through the bare branches of the birch trees and saw the big birds overhead.

They were flying low, as if they were going to land.

He held his breath and prayed, "Please stop. Please stay."

At that moment, as though answering his prayer, one of the storks turned its head and glanced at the stork pole that stood invitingly at the edge of the village. But the birds flew on across the track and away over the fields toward the River Netze. He watched until they were just distant black dots. Then they made a slow turn to the left and Leo's heart began to beat faster as the dots grew larger. He realized that they were coming back.

As the storks approached the village again he stood stock-still, fearing that a sudden movement might scare them away. He became aware of all the noises around him-a dog barking near the church, some young children shrieking and calling from the fields-noises that might frighten the storks.

But no, they kept coming, heading toward the stork pole, a tall pine trunk with an old cartwheel on the top. His father had built it eleven years earlier to give thanks for Leo's birth and to attract good luck for his family and the whole village. Everyone knew that a stork nest could bring harmony and fertility-babies, good crops, and healthy animals. But for all of Leo's life, the stork pole had remained empty. And instead of plenty, there had been struggle and scarcity. For three years in a row, the potato crop had failed and famine had gripped the village, carrying off the weak, young and old, with sleeping sickness. Even in the better years, not a belly in the village was ever full.

Only last year, Papa had stopped the whole family near the pole as they were walking home from the funeral of baby Karolina. He had looked up at the chattering magpies standing on the top of the pole and said, "I should take it down and burn it for all the good it has done us. Babies it brings us, only to watch them starve."

But he had not carried out the threat, and now there were storks flying toward the pole. Leo closed his eyes, willing them to land, and his heart thudded in his chest.

When he finally dared to look, the storks were perched on either side of the cart wheel. They stretched out their long necks and began to make a loud, dry, clacking noise with their beaks as if to announce their arrival and their intention to stay.

And stay they did.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Walk the Wild Road is a middle grade historical adventure set in

    Walk the Wild Road is a middle grade historical adventure set in 1870 Prussia (now Poland) during the on set of war with France and follows one young boy's incredible quest to reach America. While a work of fiction, the novel was inspired by how the author's own grandfather made his way to the United States.

    Leo is a very shy, yet caring and courageous young character who has to rely heavily on his likability and sweet face to get food and shelter as he travels across Prussia. The things he has to endure while traveling are truly heart-breaking, from being beaten, to illness and almost death. It's hard for me to even imagine any 12 year old boy from today surviving what Leo goes through. His most remarkable trait is that despite everything he goes through, Leo holds on to the hope of a better life for himself and the family he had to leave behind.

    I found the pacing of the novel to be quite slow. This made the beginning a real struggle for me to get through. However, once Leo meets Tomasz I felt the story really picked up. I thought the very short chapters helped keep a rhythm, fluidity and real sense of tension to the story that might have gotten lost with longer ones.

    I really enjoyed the friendship between Leo and Tomasz because they helped keep each others spirits up and balance each other out. Tomasz is a very upbeat and outgoing character which helps to bring Leo out of his shell. He's also a fast talker, weaving elaborate stories very easily, in the hopes of finding him and Leo jobs, food and places to stay. While each boy's life is vastly different from the young boys of today, I still think they're easy to relate to. Neither one is perfect and both make bad decision but their dreams of a better life are real and encouraging.

    The historical backdrop of the oncoming war was quite fascinating and added a deeper sense of danger. Also great detail is given to the poverty, religious tension and desperation of the citizens of Prussia during the late 1800's making you fully understand why Leo and Tomasz would seek to leave it behind and travel to America. Although the novel doesn't have a perfect ending, its still a very good one and fits very well into the overall theme of hope which runs throughout the story.

    While the slower pace of the novel was a struggle for me at times, I still really enjoyed the characters and historical aspects of the book. I think Walk the Wild Road would be a perfect fit for boys who enjoy reading middle grade adventure or historical fiction books. As well as for adults who like those same genres.

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