Walk the Wild Road
By: Nigel Hinton
Published By: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Release Date: January 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Blog Tour; Copy Provided by Publisher
Audience: Middle Grades
Walk the Wild Road is one of the best middle grades novels I have read in some time. It will also appeal to young adult readers and historical fiction fans. Nigel Hinton draws upon his family history to create the story of Leo, a young boy living in Prussia in the late 1800's, who is forced to leave behind his family and home after he fights with the son of a wealthy landowner. This book is one of adventure and hope. I was in awe of Leo's strength - I doubt I would have been able to survive the hardships he has to face. Walk the Wild Road is the Odyssey for middle grades readers.
The book not only teaches readers about history, but it is a strong commentary on the struggles between the rich and the poor. I was fascinated by the way people treated Leo simply because his family did not have money. I would like to believe that the world has evolved past that point, but sadly class discrimination is still something that runs rampant throughout the world today. This book could send a strong message to kids living in poverty. Leo does not let his financial situation or family history deter him from going after his dreams. Walk the Wild Road is certainly a pull yourself up by the bootstraps kind of tale.
I also enjoyed that Nigel Hinton used the story of his grandfather to craft Leo's story. Fiction that is inspired by fact has always been something I find myself gravitating towards. Hinton's writing flawlessly flows across the page and enchants the reader. I felt like I was standing right beside Leo throughout his journey. The plot is not sanitized - Hinton explains things - even the unpleasant ones - like they truly would have happened. Girls and boys alike will enjoy reading this one. I highly recommend it!
One Last Gripe: I wanted to know what happened to the doctor and Klara
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Leo's persistence
First Sentence: Leo was the first to see the storks.
Favorite Character: Leo
Least Favorite Character: Wolfgang
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.