by Novelist Jeremy Jackson
|Jeremy Jackson has just written his first adult novel, Life at These Speeds. It's an awesome book but too grown up for many of our very young visitors, so I invited Jeremy to write a kids' story for this site. Here it is! Find out more about Jeremy, after you the little story he wrote for our young visitors.|
It is May. I wake up and roll over. I see my running shoes on the
In the bathroom, I splash water onto my face and look in the mirror.
Water drips off my chin. I feel each drip. Back in my room, I put on my
shorts. I pick up my shoes and a clean pair of socks.
I sit on the back steps. The concrete is cool against my bare feet. I
put on my socks and shoes. I walk around to the front of the house. There
is the cat, sitting on the porch. She watches me stretch.
Then I start my morning run.
I can hear three things: the birds in the fields, the sound of my feet,
and my breathing. Out here in the country, everything else is quiet. There
are no cars on this little gravel road.
As I run past the open wheat fields and pastures, the sun rises behind
me. And suddenly I am not alone, because now my shadow is running with me.
My shadow is my companion. It stretches down the road, running in front of
me. It is long and dark; and when I wave, it waves back.
My shadow is exactly as fast as me. When I speed up, it speeds up.
When I slow down, it slows down.
I turn onto another road and now my shadow is running beside me. My
shadow is running through the pastures, over the fenceposts, over the cows,
and even over the little creek.
My shadow is a good runner.
When I turn for home, I am tired. But where is my shadow? It's gone. Did it leave me? Does it know the way home? Did I lose my own shadow? It's not beside me, and it's not in front of me. Where else could it be? Then I look behind me, over my shoulder. There it is, following me. Perhaps it is tired, just like I am, and that's why it's running behind me instead of in front. I'm glad it's still there.
At home, my shadow stops when I stop. It puts its hands on its hips,
just like me, and follows me to the porch. When I kneel, it kneels too,
and when the cat rises and comes over to say hello, her shadow meets my
My shadow doesn't follow me inside, but we will run again soon,
my running companion and me.
Have fun with reading and art! Use our Printable Version. Print, staple into a book, read and illustrate!
How Jeremy Jackson, Author of the New Novel Life at These Speeds, Came to Write about Running with his Shadow
We chose the topic of Shadow Running for Jeremy Jackson's kids' story because in his new novel, some of his most poetic prose is about shadow running, "That dry summer, my shadow head sometimes wore the crowns of oaks and ash trees. My shadow fingers could touch the crows who sat hunched a quarter mile down the road. My shadow torso slid across pastures. But my shadow feet never went far from my real feet....."
For a high school student or an adult, this book is a keeper. It will grab your attention from the first chapter. If you are a runner, you will quickly recognize the book's authenticity and KNOW that Jeremy was or is a runner. You will laugh at parts, but be touched throughout, and you won't want the book to end. If you aren't a runner, it won't matter, for the soul of the book digs into the essence of the characters, more than the act of running itself.
This is Alan Webb's favorite contemporary novel. It's also mine and I'm already anxious for Jeremy to write another so that I can enjoy some summer reading. "Definitely my favorite book! A beautiful tribute to all runners, and a
reminder that being true to yourself is more important than setting
records." --Alan Webb
To be honest, I ordered this book knowing it was Webb's favorite. I was just plain curious as to what kind of reading our young high school record holder would enjoy. I never dreamed that I was buying a book that would also be one of my favorites. It didn't take more than a few moments of reading to completely forget about my original reason for reading this book and to become totally immersed in the world of Kevin Schuler, main character.
Notes from my Memory
-If you want to find out about the plot before you read the book, you can read the jacket cover, or go to bn.com or amazon.com and read the reviews. I think the less you know before you read the story, the more compelling the book will be so....there is no mention of the book's plot on this page.
Also, I DIDN'T read the jacket cover before I read the book.
THE MAIN CHARACTER
-Kevin Schuler is a combination of many: a little Holden Caulfield or perhaps a character that Dostoyevsky would have created. He's a bit of a hero along with a potentially tragic character, but all-in-all, just a kid trying to find his way; like the rest of us.
-I loved the women in the book. There's Hannah who in her short appearance is unforgettable, Henny, who's almost a runner and loves to write long letters, Ellie and her hen, and Andanda, the editor.
-The author's been a track runner and remembers the silly mistakes that kids can make. If you've been around kids a lot, you've seen these things happen. He'll make you feel like you're right there and he'll make you laugh out loud but then later he'll show you a side of competition that perhaps you've never seen.
-Jeremy has incredible potential. There are special parts in his book that show his versatility as a writer. You'll find the style you like the best and hope to read more.
-The book goes back and forth in time; just enough to make you think, but he controls the text so that you are never confused, but you will get lost; that is lost to the world once you start reading this book. If you do read this book and enjoy it, please send me an email. I'd like to know.
KR would love to publish some kids' stories on the same topic of Shadow Running. We've included this activity as part of our RED RIBBON program. You can brush up on your writing skills and work toward earning a ribbon at the same time. If you've never been published, why not make this your first time, just like Jeremy!
Use your imagination and take your shadow for a run. Then tell us all about it. Being a writer is one of the nicest ways of sharing. Share your thoughts, share your experiences, and share your running with KidsRunning.com! Send stories to: email@example.com