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Auma's Long Run

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  122 reviews
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 sick -- even
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published September 1st 2017 by Carolrhoda Books (R)
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Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful, wonderful read. I read it in two settings--not because it was short but because it was just so good. The protagonist has to endure the loss of both parents but yet is determined not to "take the easy road out" in order to find a better life for herself. I love the message that getting a good education is the answer. ...more
Monica Edinger
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Set in a 1980s Kenyan Luo village during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Auma's Long Run  is a piercingly honest account of the struggles, pain, hardships, deaths, famine, and challenges faced by a determined young girl and her community with grace and fortitude. Debut author Eucabeth A. Odhiambo, who grew up in a Luo village, beautifully brings out the complicated ways thirteen year old Auma, her family, and neighbors cope with the scourge. Lack of resources, traditional practices, personalities, and ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What you don't know could kill you. In Auma's village, nobody knows what to do to avoid getting the mysterious illness that is killing their friends and neighbors. Auma is still in school, and she's busy studying, helping her family at home, and participating in the school track team. But soon, the mysterious illness forcibly disrupts all of that.

I was expecting this to be more about the running.
With that cover and title, and the first sentence of most summaries I read, I was hoping this would
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Set in Kenya at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, this novel explains how the disease spread through ignorance and folk beliefs due to lack of education. What I liked so much about this book is the main character, Auma, who is strong and never gives up her dream of becoming a doctor by continuing her education and running track. She has to deal with many setbacks, but always manages to find a solution. This book would combine nicely with Allan Statton’s Chanda’s Secret and Unity Dow’s Far and ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just wow
I will write a longer post later but this book was incredible.
This should be the Newbery.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
"It was only now I realized that women wailed more on account of everything they never had the chance to say. All of the questions they never asked. All the times we never really talked about the things that mattered most. It was the one time that women could be angry. Be loud. Yell. Purge the soul. And no one thought less of them. Everyone expected it."

Reading Auma's Long Run by Eucabeth A. Odhiambo was a window into a time and place about which I didn't know much. Auma is the twelve-year-old
Ms. Yingling
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
E ARC from

Auma has a very fortunate life in her Kenyan village. Her father works in Nairobi, but comes home from time to time, bringing presents and encouraging Auma in her dream to be a doctor. Because he earns a good income, she is able to afford to go to school. When he comes home this time, however, he stays for longer, and is suffering from an undisclosed illness. Is it malaria? Many people have been dying in Auma's village, which makes her want to pursue medical studies even
Mississippi Library Commission
This book for middle grade kids was simply incredible. It sucks you straight into the life of 13-year-old Auma, a Kenyan girl living in a small Luo village in the 1980s. She has big dreams and an even bigger heart, but the looming menace of AIDS wrecks havoc on her life. Auma's fortitude and perseverance are beautiful and inspirational. Highly recommended. ...more
Leonard Kim
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's good and even more effective, by which I mean: though I think someone could find things to criticize in this if they were so inclined, I don't think they matter so much as far as the book's impact goes. ...more
Josephine Sorrell
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: newbery-2018
The author, Eucabeth A. Odhiambo grew up in Kenya in the 80's and 90's and knows the culture first hand. She states culture varies village to village, but this book is a good representation of life in parts of Africa. The story points out how and not in your face manner, much we have and how little we must do to have the basics needs for life. To them a rare luxury is a piece of fish, soap, or a a sweet treat called nuguru. Nuguru is caramel -flavoured unrefined sugar made from the juices of cru ...more
An incredible read. A book that I will buy, recommend, and share.

In 1980's Kenya, 13-year-old Auma wants answers: Why is her father not returning to his job in the city? What is causing this mysterious illness that people in the village call Slim? Why is her mother silent and withdrawn after taking Auma's father to the doctor? The one place where Auma can get answers is school, a place where the teachers are strict (students get hit with a cane in the back of the legs if they are late, "no excu
mindful.librarian ☀️
Haunting but inspirational, AUMA'S LONG RUN reminds readers that the world is bigger than what we can see, and that challenges are profoundly different throughout the world.

Thanks to the publisher for the signed galley of this title provided through a giveaway.

Set in 1980's Kenya during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Odhiambo draws on her own experiences living in a village such as Auma's to highlight the way that the disease completely ravaged the country, and still continues to do so.

This is a vi
T.J. Burns
Heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, emotionally captivating book! I felt for Auma, I cried with Auma, and I rooted for Auma, hoping beyond hope that she could overcome unbeatable, unbearable obstacles and not only survive, but thrive.

Auma's story gives paints a painfully vivid picture of and gives us insight into the AIDS-devastation that in the 1980s swept not only Auma's Kenyan village, but Africa and the world. Particularly frustrating are all the misconceptions and misinformation surrounding the
Emi Bevacqua
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All the respect to Eucabeth Odhiambo, a teacher of teachers, for writing this powerful book for young readers about a monumentally serious subject: the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and its effects on a generation of orphans. As seen through the eyes of frightened yet capable 13-year old Auma, who lives in a small village in Kenya, where she and her best friend Abeth attend KaPeter Primary School. I loved how Auma's parents spoke to her in ways that made her feel loved and special, but also motivated ...more
Although it is certainly true that education is a reliable avenue out of poverty, it also comes at a heavy price and requires great resilience as this novel by a new author shows. Auma lives in a small Luo village in Kenya with her parents and her siblings. Since it is the 1980s AIDS and HIV are just starting to make their effects felt. She is an excellent runner and studies hard, dreaming that her athletic talent and her academic performance might earn her a scholarship to secondary school, whi ...more
Phil Jensen
Nov 19, 2017 marked it as notes-on-unfinished-books
Notes on the first 32 pages & Why I put it down

I was pumped for this book. Kenya and AIDS are topics I've never seen in a kids' book. Reviews were positive, and the author is a professional educator. Yet, I found myself reluctant to pick it back up after each chapter and giving out a deep sigh each time I began a new one. What went wrong?

There is nothing wrong with the writing on a technical level. The setting is described in an accessible way. Characters are three dimensional, their traits are
Victoria Spicer-Stuart
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
*Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.* 'Auma's Long Run' tells the story of a young Kenyan girl, Auma growing up in the village of Koromo in the 1980s, just as the HIV/AIDS epidemic is beginning to take hold. Auma is the eldest of four children and she must balance her duties to her family, with her desire to get a track scholarship to high school and go on to become a doctor. The novel is told from Auma's perspective and deals ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The adults of Auma’s Kenyan village are dying and no one understands why. “Our homes smell like death. Our village will soon be filled with only children.” Auma, who dreams of becoming a doctor, is frightened and confused, and when her own parents grow ill, her determination to save her people knows no bounds. The complex life of a girl in a contemporary Kenyan village is made vivid and compelling: the joys of friends and family alongside the burdens of poverty, the obstacles to education, and t ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book for review.

This was a very good debut story, clearly written by someone who knows what she's writing about (as the author note states, she was in Kenya in the 80's during the start of the AIDS epidemic.) It's not an easy read - heartbreaking at times, but also hopeful. The characters are well written. The culture in Africa during this time period really came to life. Quite a lot to discuss if read by kids - everyone had to p
A heart-breaking account of the recent Pandemic sweeping Africa and the world in the 1980s. Uncompromising in its devastation.

However the expository narrative keeps the reader removed from the emotion. Amua never seems like she is immersed in her world. The first person narrative self-consciously tells the reader about village life of Komoro in pedantic explanations, rather than showing us through deft descriptions.
May 19, 2019 added it
Auma's a girl from Nigaria. Her parents were more wealthy then others. Auma didn't like the idea of girls being house wives. Auma always dreamed to be a doctor. Auma was almost dead when she was born, but she survived. She was stronger then many other kids. She was very fast at running. Many people from Auma's country dies everyday. Auma's mom soon have HIV, and Auma had a difficult time. ...more
Lynn L
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-school, kindle
I liked this. But I didn't love it. Maybe I went into the book too hopeful. ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2017, edelweiss, kids
I didn't expect to read this book so quickly, but I gulped it down in one super fast read. I was completely engrossed by Auma's story and how completely different her life is from mine. Odhiambo tackles some tough subjects: AIDS, attempted rape, death, and overwhelming poverty. Surprisingly though, I found this book inspirational rather than depressing. The descriptions of everyday life in rural Kenya were fascinating; watching Auma and her family's struggle with their newfound belief in Christ ...more
Auma lives in a remote village in Kenya. She loves to run and is hoping to get a track scholarship so that she can attend secondary school. Her dream is to become a doctor someday. However, when her dad gets really sick and many people in her village start dying, her dream seems to become less and less of a possibility.

Although set at the onset of the AIDS crisis, this still feels very contemporary. The author lived in Kenya at the time, so details are accurate and reliable. While it is overall
Melissa Miles
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend Auma's Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo: Beautiful historical fiction about resilience, family, loss, & racing after your dreams!

I am looking forward to sharing this story set in Kenya during the AIDS epidemic with my students throughout the school year and discussing it with colleagues at our staff book club in March!
Sarah Wilsman
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-j-fic
I reviewed this for SLJ and gave it a star. Auma's story is compelling and the book does a good job showing what the beginning of the AIDS epidemic was like when it was known as "slim" in Kenya and mysteriously killing villagers. Realistic historical fiction recommended for grades 6 and up. ...more
Mary Lee
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story of resilience. Set in Kenya in the 1980s at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, a young girl is torn between family obligations, cultural norms, and her dreams of becoming a doctor.
Becky B
Auma is in year 7 in her village school in Kenya. Most girls Auma's age are preparing to get married soon and start lives as wives and mothers after year 8. But Auma has bigger dreams. She's determined to beat the odds, make it to high school, and go on to become a doctor who will come back to help the people of her village. She knows her family is too poor to afford high school, so her speed in track is her one hope to sustain her dreams. She hopes she can do well in her final years of track an ...more
Sinead Anja (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I received an ARC of Auma’s Long Run through NetGalley. I chose to request this book because I was looking for some diverse middle grade fiction and the blurb caught my interest.

This book is #ownvoices for Kenyan representation.


Wow. This book is really heavy, it doesn’t try to make the situation around AIDS seem better than it was. The story takes place around the time in which AIDS started to spread in Kenya.

The women and me
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Dr. Eucabeth Odhiambo is a member of the Department of Teacher Education faculty at Shippensburg University. She has served the education community in a variety of positions during the past 25 years. As a classroom teacher she worked with K, and 2nd - 8th grades. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Early Childhood and Curriculum and Instruction programs. She currently teaches chi ...more

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44 likes · 65 comments
“I had never fully understood our tradition- why women wailed so loudly and for so long after someone died. It was only now I realized that women wailed more on account of everything they never had a chance to say. All the questions they never asked. All the times we never really talked about the things that mattered most.
It was the one time that women could be angry. Be loud. Say anything. Yell. Purge the soul. And no one thought less of them. Everyone expected it.”
“I won't let you down, Mama. I won't let myself down.” 0 likes
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