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  • Noah Barleywater Runs Away
  • Written by John Boyne
    Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
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  • Noah Barleywater Runs Away
  • Written by John Boyne
    Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780385752466
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  • Noah Barleywater Runs Away
  • Written by John Boyne
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  • Noah Barleywater Runs Away
  • Written by John Boyne
    Read by Andrew Sachs
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  • Noah Barleywater Runs Away
  • Written by John Boyne
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Noah Barleywater Runs Away

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On Sale: May 10, 2011
Pages: 240 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89934-8
Published by : David Fickling Books RH Childrens Books

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On Sale: May 10, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-91648-8
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ISBN: 978-0-307-91649-5
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Eight-year-old Noah's problems seem easier to deal with if he doesn't think about them. So he runs away, taking an untrodden path through the forest.

Before long, he comes across a shop. But this is no ordinary shop: it's a toyshop, full of the most amazing toys, and brimming with the most wonderful magic. And here Noah meets a very unusual toymaker. The toymaker has a story to tell, and it's a story of adventure and wonder and broken promises. He takes Noah on a journey. A journey that will change his life.

Excerpt

Noah Barleywater left home in the early morning, before the sun rose, before the dogs woke, before the dew stopped falling on the fields.

He climbed out of bed and shuffled into the clothes he’d laid out the night before, holding his breath as he crept quietly downstairs. Three of the steps had a loud creak in them where the wood didn’t knit together correctly so he walked very softly on each one, desperate to make as little noise as possible.

In the hallway he took his coat off the hook but didn’t put his shoes on until he had already left the house. He walked down the laneway, opened the gate, went through and closed it again, treading as lightly as he could in case his parents heard the sound of the gravel crunching beneath his feet and came downstairs to investigate.

It was still dark at this hour and Noah had to squint to make out the road that twisted and turned up ahead. The growing light would allow him to sense any danger that might be lurking in the shadows. When he got to the end of the first quarter-mile, at just that point where he could turn round one last time and still make out his home in the distance, he stared at the smoke rising from the chimney that stretched upwards from the kitchen fireplace and thought of his family inside, all safely tucked up in their beds, unaware that he was leaving them for ever. And despite himself, he felt a little sad.

Am I doing the right thing? he wondered, a great blanket of happy memories trying to break through and smother the fresher, sadder ones.

But he had no choice. He couldn’t bear to stay any longer. No one could blame him for that, surely. Anyway, it was probably best that he went out to make his own way in the world. After all, he was already eight years old and the truth was, he hadn’t really done anything with his life so far.

A boy in his class, Charlie Charlton, had appeared in the local newspaper when he was only seven, because the Queen had come to open a day centre for all the grannies and granddads in the village, and he had been chosen to hand her a bunch of flowers and say, We’re SO delighted you could make the journey, ma’am. A photograph had been taken where Charlie was grinning like the Cheshire cat as he presented the bouquet, and the Queen wore an expression that suggested she had smelled something funny but was far too well-brought-up to comment on it; he’d seen that expression on the Queen’s face before and it always made him giggle. The photo had been placed on the school notice board the following day and had remained there until someone – not Noah – had drawn a moustache on Her Majesty’s face and written some rude words in a speech bubble coming out of her mouth that nearly gave the headmaster, Mr Tushingham, a stroke.

The whole thing had caused a terrible scandal, but at least Charlie Charlton had got his face in the papers and been the toast of the schoolyard for a few days. What had Noah ever done with his life to compare with that? Nothing. Why, only a few days before he’d tried to make a list of all his achievements, and this is what he’d come up with:
 
1. I have read fourteen books from cover to cover.
2. I won the bronze medal in the 500 metres at Sports Day last year and would have won silver if Breiffni O’Neill hadn’t jumped the gun and got a head start.
3. I know the capital of Portugal. (It’s Lisbon.)
4. I may be small for my age but I’m the seventh cleverest boy in my class.
5. I am an excellent speller.
 
Five achievements at eight years of age, he thought at the time, shaking his head and pressing the tip of his pencil to his tongue even though his teacher, Miss Bright, screamed whenever anyone did that and said they would get lead poisoning. That’s one achievement for every . . . He thought about it and did a series of quick calculations on a bit of scrap paper. One achievement for every one year, seven months and six days. Not very impressive at all.

He tried to tell himself that this was the reason he was leaving home, because it seemed a lot more adventurous than the real reason, which was something he didn’t want to think about. Not this early in the morning, anyway.

And so here he was, out on his own, a young soldier on his way to battle. He turned round, thinking to himself, That’s it! I’ll never see that house again now! and continued on his way, strolling along with the air of a man who knows that, come the next election, there’s every chance he will be elected mayor. It was important to look confident – he realized that very early on. After all, there was a terrible tendency among adults to look at children travelling alone as if they were planning a crime of some sort. None of them ever thought that it might just be a young chap on his way to see the world and have a great adventure. They were so small-minded, grown-ups. That was one of their many problems.
 


From the Hardcover edition.
John Boyne

About John Boyne

John Boyne - Noah Barleywater Runs Away

Photo © Mark Condren

I stated writing at a very young age, not long after I first started reading and discovered the joys of getting lost in someone else’s world. When I was a child, I wrote hundreds of stories and bound them up together like books, writing my name on the spine and putting them on the bookshelves in my bedroom. I don’t have any of those stories any more. but I wish I did. Maybe I could still get some ideas from them.

At the age of 10, I was in hospital for a week for an operation and my mother gave me a copy of The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis to read. By the time I was recovered I’d read all seven of the Narnia books and fell in love with the idea of adventure stories, particularly ones that included children like me who were in peril and had to use their wits and ingenuity to get out of trouble.

The next book I remember that had a big effect on me was The Silver Sword by Ian Serailler. This tale of four children fleeing Poland during World War II was perhaps the most important book of my childhood, combining my love of heroic adventure stories with my growing interest in history. It forced me to think about what children my own age had gone through during the war and question whether I would have been as brave and strong as they were. Twenty years later it influenced my writing of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as I tried to tell a story about this terrible time in human history with as much integrity and compassion as Serailler had.

When I was a young teenager, I discovered Charles Dickens and his novels have had the greatest effect on me as both a reader and writer. I particularly loved the orphan novels–David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby–books that began with a young boy left alone in the world, with no one or nothing to rely on other than his own resourcefulness. Because so many of Dickens’ novels were originally serialised in magazines, Dickens had a tremendous talent for finishing each chapter with a cliff-hanger, forcing me to leave the light on just a little longer to find out what happened next . . . and next . . . and next.

My life has always been filled with books and I never wanted to be anything but a writer. One of the great thrills over the last year of my life since publishing The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in the U.K. has been visiting schools and classrooms, talking to young children about the issues raised in the novel, but also discussing reading and writing in general. To my delight there’s a lot of young writers out there with great imaginations and stories to tell. I’ll be looking forward to their own books 20 years from now.
Awards

Awards

WINNER 2011 Kid's Indie Next List "Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers"
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