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Adam of the Road

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  5,441 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Awarded the John Newbery Medal as "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" in the year of its publication.

"A road's a kind of holy thing," said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. "That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all ki

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Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 5th 2006 by Puffin Books (first published 1942)
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The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
68th out of 106 books — 2,333 voters
The Giver by Lois LowryA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleHoles by Louis SacharNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal Winner Books
67th out of 94 books — 271 voters


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Community Reviews

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Evan Hays
A classic that I also read back in 3rd grade. All I really remembered was the excellent feel of the book, which makes sense now because that is the main takeaway. The plot is take it or leave it, and there are several characters who you would have liked the author to develop more, thus why it gets 4 stars. But for its portrayal of Medieval England it gets a high rank. For example, she works in details such as there was only one coin minted in England at the time, how it was fashionable to swear ...more
Christina
I read this because Katie's on a Newbery kick. Although here it says first published in 1973, it was actually from 1942, and it reads as such, but it's a nice little medieval story anyway. I found interesting the way Gray describes friendships between males - for instance, there's an innocence in the way Adam just earnestly loves his friend Perkin, with the two boys always walking arm in arm, sharing beds and doing anything for each other, that wouldn't as likely be written in that way in the cu ...more
Melissa (ladybug)
I loved this book. Yes, it started out slow and I didn't understand why Adam called his father Roger; but otherwise a very nice book. Adam does some growing up and learns about the world. The author really did her research on the details. I feel that I have really learned somethings about England in the 1200s - 1300s and I wasn't even trying.
Justine Carbo
i thought this book was horrible. i wouldn't reccommend it .
Teresa Garrett
I try to read an older Newbery winner from time to time to see if they still have appeal to current students. I am excited to say Adam of the Road did not disappoint. Adam is a 12 year old minstrel who is traveling with his father around 13th century England. His father has recently joined a family as their private minstrel and life is looking up for both Roger, the dad, and Adam his son who is training to become a minstrel in his own right. They have a fine war horse: Bayard and a beautiful red ...more
Antof9
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
"A road's a kind of holy thing," said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. "That's why it's a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It's open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle."

Adam is a young boy of eleven, spending his time in school while awaiting the return of his father, a minstrel of some repute, and t
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Debnance
“A road’s a kind of holy thing,” said Roger the Minstrel to his son, Adam. “That’s why it’s a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It’s open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it’s home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle.”

Adam is a young boy of eleven, spending his time in school while awaiting the return of his father, a minstrel of some repute, and t
...more
Maria
Jan 31, 2015 Maria added it
I found this book so charming, and loved how it was set in England in the 1200's. Listed as a young adult book but I loved it as an adult and felt like I appreciated it even more from my current perspective.
Sevananazari
I chose this book because the cover and the short paragraph about the story appealed to me. This book is about an eleven year old boy who travels the road of Medieval England, visiting town and encountering a variety of different people. Adam’s father, Roger, a minstrel in thirteenth-century England, talks to him about the road.Outgoing and cheerful, Adam manages to keep his head, learn from his misfortunes, practice patience, and depend on the road to finally bring a happy reunion ever since hi ...more
Tory Anderson
Like most good books this book was good on several levels. As historical fiction it was great. We find ourselves living with Adam in Medieval England. The words "Medieval England" always bring a shudder to me. My perception is that the time was harsh and life very difficult. Adam of the Road doesn't try to tell me differently, but it does show me the color of the age and that kindness, love, and courage existed then, as now.

Adam of the Road is also a "journey" story featuring luck, ingenuity, p
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Kimberly
This is another book I read as a youngster that I purchased to share with my kids when they're a little older. But the other day I decided that I didn't want to wait any longer before reading it again myself!
Benji Martin
Adam of the Road is a bit longer than the few Newbery winners leading up to 1943, but it is a lot better than them too. I really liked Adam, and the adventures he had looking for his dog and his dad. I appreciated that the narrator didn't try to hide Adam or Roger's flaws, but still presented the characters in a likable way. Of course, being published in 1943, the writing is a bit archaic and I doubt many of my students would read it, especially when there are books like The Seven Tales of Trink ...more
Debbie
67 1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Viking)

8/6/10 317 pages - en route to taking mom to Michigan

Adam is the son of a minstrel in the 1200's. The story begins with him waiting at a boarding school for his father to fetch him and his dog Nick. Roger, his father, has been selected as a special minstrel and he takes Adam with him. The dog is stolen and Adam has many adventures when he becomes separated from Roger while looking for the dog.

The story has some vocabulary that is difficu
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D.C.
I agree that this is a Newbery selection that you just may find yourself enjoying and staying with for longer sittings than a typical Newbery. The writing is simple yet crisp, the setting is believable and fascinating to anyone interested in the medieval times, and the story deviates from typical Newbery story lines. It may not be something that kids would pick up, but if they did, I'm sure they would be fairly engrossed. Not a whole lot of negative qualities here, but nothing truly outstanding, ...more
Ensiform
Winner of the 1943 Newbery. In late 13th-century England, eleven-year-old Adam and his trusty spaniel Nick await at St. Alban's abbey the return of Adam’s father, the minstrel Roger, who has been wandering and plying his trade. The family is reunited, but after Adam's dog is stolen, he gives chase, and loses Roger again. There begins a long wandering, from London to Winchester and Oxford, over months, as Adam gets by on his minstrel skills and from the kindness of strangers.

As with most early Ne
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Tony
Elizabeth Janet Gray- Adam of the Road (Puffin Books 1988) 3.75 Stars

It is the thirteenth century in England and 11-year-old Adam wants nothing more than to be a minstrel. His father is the personal minstrel of royalty and he is coming to take Adam to learn the tricks of the trade. Adam is taking his red spaniel, Nick, with him and when his dog is stolen he finds himself searching many roads for his beloved pet. Adam now finds himself separated from his father and Nick, and he must rely on his o
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Rachel
This was a re-read for me as I read it when I was a girl but couldn't remember the story very well enough to know if it still fits with my standards that I'm trying to have for my books. I am sad to say I did not enjoy it as much as I remembered doing the first time I read it. It's not a bad book but I just wasn't as interested in the story as other books I've read.

The writer's style is very simple so that's very nice for young reader's, especially with all the new words and terms the author us
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Gale
LOST AND FOUND ON THE ROAD OF LIFE

Set during the reign of King Edward "Longshanks" this story describes the life of a minstrel's son. Adam adores his pet spaniel, Nick, and pals around with a boy named Perkin, who is a fellow student at the Abbey School. But the youth yearns for his father's return, so that they may travel the glorious Road together: singing, harping, reciting tales (called Lays), spreading news and performing acrobatics-anything to entertain a crowd and therefore earn food and
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Jen
I liked this story. It was fun and sweet and scattered here and there with quaint observations and bits of wisdom.

For instance, give someone a gift when you won't be seeing them for awhile -- "It was easier to say goodbye when you had something to give."

Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself -- "For the first time in his life he had played the part of an oyster. He had taken the bit of grit that was scratching him and made something of it that was comfortable to him and pleasing to someone outside
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Jill
Decent story. I was pleasantly surprised. It reminds me a little of The Hobbit, maybe because they're both adventure stories. Strange coincidence--I read Sarah, Plain and Tall right after this and they mention the same song!! "Sumer is i-cumen in, 'Loude sing cuckoo"...must be some famous old English madrigal.

"Remember, Adam, a minstrel sings what his listeners want to hear. It's not for him to ease his own sorrows or tell his own joys. He's to find out how his listeners are feeling and say it
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Newengland
A rather charming, old-school "road novel" about an 11-year-old minstrel named Adam who gets separated from his father and his stolen dog, then spends 2/3rds of the novel traipsing all over 13th-century England in search of both. Adam meets all manner of people, high and low, kind and villainous, and author Elizabeth Janet Gray (who tutored the Emperor Akihito of Japan!) embeds plenty of historical tidbits along the way. Certainly you get a flavor for life on the road in those days, and of minst ...more
Kathryn McCary
A friend identified this as the first book he had ever read cover-to-cover all by himself, and it rang a bell; when I came across a copy I picked it up and read it. I can't honestly say if I read it as a child (I remember reading a book about a boy acrobat travelling in medieval England, with a dog. . .but nothing in the book was familiar). Certainly, I enjoyed it as an adult but with reservations I would not have had, as a child, about the degree of authenticity in the characters'language and i ...more
LuAnn
Such adventures Adam has on the road as he tries to find his stolen dog and minstrel father journeying from London to Winchester to St. Albans to Oxford and the readers feel like they are right there with him. Though he meets thieves in many forms, harsh weather and loneliness, Adam always lands on his feet. Good look at medieval England for anyone. Robert Lawson's line drawings are great. Another deserving Newbery.
Stephen
A Newberry book form 1943 that I remember by its cover but did not read until my own middle age as part of a quest to collect Newberry books. You have to get an edition with the Robert Lawson illustrations (who did Ferdinand). The story line is appealing, the atmosphere clear, there are endpaper maps (always a plus). Not a life-changer or a ground-breaker but a nice boy and his dog book about late medieval England.
Mirrani
A book for history lovers, adventurers, and even some musicians out there, Adam of the Road takes you back to a time when mistrals entertained. Life on the road brings both good and bad, which seem to happen in equal measure within these pages. Overall strangers seem helpful, maybe overly helpful at times, but there are a few out there that Adam learns to be wary of. There is enough travel to make this a real journey through 13th century England and enough plot to keep a reader following along f ...more
Thomas Bell
I thought that this book was okay, though it started off pretty slow.

Adam is a Minstrel, i.e. a traveling entertainer - mostly with stories and music, but also some tricks and stuff, in 13th Century England.

The first half of the book is how Nick leaves the Abbey, joins back up with his Father to continue their Minstrelsy, and goes around with him.

However, the dog Nick is stolen by a weird jealous gambler/minstrel guy. Adam also loses his father while chasing Nick. Now, if Adam was smarter he cou
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Sam Bledsoe
I discovered this book when someone asked me if I knew anything about the author. I didn't and learned about her. The author was an amazing woman, and a good writer as well. This was a good read, well paced and focused around the adventure of Adam as he travels for a year searching for his dog and his father. During his adventure he grows and learns to become a great minstrel with adventures of his own.
Archy
About average Newberry winner from 1942. Adam is on a pedestrian road trip around 1200 England, initially with his minstrel father. His beloved dog is stolen and he is separated from his father. The rest of the novel tells his travels alone until a happy ending several months later. The plot is very predictable, so it isn't really a spoiler to say that he finds his dog and his father.

This is comparable to _The Hidden Treasure of Glaston_ or _A Door in the Wall_. There's less character developmen
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Ruth E.
1943 Newbery winner -author/illustrator Elizabeth Janet Gray/Robert Lawson - The story of a young minstrel who has his dog Nivk taken from him by minstrel Jankin. When trying to find him he is seperated from his father Roger also a minstrel. This is the story of his journey on the road to find his dog and his father. In the end he finds his dog with his friend Perkins who he had met at the abby while his father was gone. Nick had gotten away from Jankin and returned to Dame Malkin's cottage and ...more
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Elizabeth Gray Vining began her distinguished writing career with children's books because she said "they enjoy their books so much, read and re-read them—which is satisfying to a hard-working author." Later she began to write for adults as well, and they, too, read and re-read her books. among the most popular of these books are Windows for the Crown Prince, The Virginia Exiles, Friend of Life, T ...more
More about Elizabeth Gray Vining...
Jane Hope Windows for the Crown Prince: An American Woman's Four Years as Private Tutor to the Crown Prince of Japan Meggy MacIntosh: A Highland Girl in the Carolina Colony Take Heed of Loving Me: a Novel about John Donne Penn

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