Running on the Roof of the World

Author(s): Jess Butterworth

Middle Fiction

A story of adventure, survival, courage, and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India that introduces young readers to a fascinating part of the world and the threat to its people's religious freedom.

There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them: 'Dalai Lama'.

Tash is a lively 12-year-old who lives with her parents in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers and where you must obey many rules in order to survive. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash's parents, she and her best friend Sam are determined to escape and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India. With a backpack of Tash’s father’s mysterious papers and two trusty yaks called Bones and Eve by their side, their extraordinary adventure across the mountains begins.

This is a delightful story of friendship, survival and hope, set in a vivid landscape and starring two equally vivid protagonists. Tash and Sam face many ordeals, including the onset of winter and the presence of people smugglers and enemy soldiers, but their courage and daring drive them on. The short, punchy chapters are beautifully written and capture the drama of the quest and the magnificent beauty of the terrain.

It reminded me of Elizabeth Laird’s Oranges in No Man’s Land and Nadia Hashimi’s One Half From the East, books that handle issues with a political edge in a balanced and compassionate way, so that readers aged 9 to 12 who are curious about the world will understand hardship and oppression and feel empathy.



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Daring kids, sidekick yaks, Himalayan setting - all the ingredients of a smashing adventure. -- Abi Elphinstone

A wonderful story of courage and hope. -- Amy Wilson, author of A GIRL CALLED OWL

A powerful, compelling story of hope, wisdom and compassion... -- Steve Voake of those stories that gives its young readers an honest understanding of some of the awful things that go on in the world, but balances that understanding with a narrative of survival and hope... -- Jill Murphy The Book Bag

Jess spent her childhood between the UK and India, and grew up hearing stories about the Himalayas from her grandmother. As part of her research, she lived in India and even met with the Dalai Lama. She studied creative writing at Bath Spa and now lives in Bristol.

General Fields

  • : 9781510102088
  • : Hachette Children's Group
  • : Orion Children's Books
  • : 0.304
  • : May 2017
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jess Butterworth
  • : Paperback
  • : 617
  • : en
  • : 823.92
  • : Children's - Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
  • : 288