Auma's Long Run

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Auma loves to run. 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. 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 sick—even dying—and no one knows why. Now Auma faces a difficult choice. Should she stay to support her struggling family or leave 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 questions about this new disease.

•A BEA Editors’ Buzz Pick
•A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle-Grade Book of 2016
•A Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year

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Interest Level Grade 3 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 4
Category Diverse Books: Feminism, Diverse Books: #MeToo, Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2017
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 304
Publication Date 2017-09-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV030010, JUV039030
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 740
Guided Reading Level Z
ATOS Reading Level 5.1
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 190014
Accelerated Reader® Points 9.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

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  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2018
  • BEA Editors' Buzz, Winner, 2017
  • Booklist Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, Winner, 2017
  • Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books of the Year, Winner, 2017


Booklist Reader

The Essentials: When Parents Get Sick
By Julia Smith.

In recent years, we’ve noticed an influx of books that portray children dealing with having a sick parent. The emotional and practical demands of having a loved one with a mental or physical illness are complex, and these middle-grade novels take nuanced looks at kid characters finding inner strength and external support to weather unforeseen health crises.

Auma’s Long Run. By Eucabeth Odhiambo. 2017. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (9781512427844). Gr. 6–8.

Auma dreams of winning a high-school track scholarship that will take her out of her Kenyan village; however, when her father grows seriously ill with AIDS, she must decide whether to continue her schooling or work to feed her family. In this gut-wrenching look at the 1990s AIDS epidemic, Odhiambo flawlessly weaves Kenyan culture with preteen problems.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Odhiambo’s heartbreaking tale of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s weaves the many threads of the disease’s course into one accessible cloth.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Shelf Awareness

“[Odhiambo] give[s] life to the authentic and realistic character of Auma—a young woman to believe in—and to put a human face on the epidemic that still affects Kenya.”—Shelf Awareness


“Odihambo flawlessly weaves Kenyan tradition and culture with appropriate preteen problems . . . . [T]his novel would be an excellent asset to classrooms everywhere.”—Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“A hard-hitting story of a resilient and intelligent girl who bravely confronts a devastating health crisis.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“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, Kirkus Reviews

Kate Messner

“In Auma’s Long Run, Eucabeth Odhiambo shares an unflinching look at the AIDS epidemic’s impact on one Kenyan village and introduces readers to a determined heroine with a commitment to knowledge and a fierce dedication to her family. This is a powerful book that will spark important conversations.”—Kate Messner, author of The Exact Location of Home and The Seventh Wish

School Library Journal

“[A] moving testament to the power of determination to overcome overwhelming odds is a recommended purchase for all libraries.”—starred, School Library Journal

Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery

“Whether the reader is looking to read a good story or learn something, Auma’s Long Run will satisfy.”—Jennifer Wills Geraedts, Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery

Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers

“As moving as it is accessible and informative, Auma’s Long Run is a superb story which will resonate richly in the minds of young readers.”—Kenny Brechner, Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers

Left Bank Books

“Open this book and experience Auma’s beautiful story.”—Shane Mullen, Left Bank Books

Moon Palace Books

“I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a strong female lead character.”—Angela Schwesnedl, Moon Palace Books, Minneapolis, MN

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

“A heartfelt story of loss and sacrifice, dreams and resilience.”—Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, author of Coretta Scott King Honoree No Crystal Stair