The Dog Runner Cover

The Dog Runner

Ella and her brother Emery are alone in a city that's starving to death. If they are going to survive, they must get away, upcountry, to find Emery's mum. But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren, and dangerous landscape? Well, when you've got five big doggos and a dry-land dogsled, the answer is you go mushing. But when Emery is injured, Ella must find a way to navigate them through rough terrain, and even rougher encounters with desperate people.

“'We're gonna starve if we stay here,' Emery said. 'If we're gonna go, best go now.' And he said it like going was something easy. Like all we have to do is walk away."

This fast-paced race across a dangerous Australian landscape will keep young readers entralled.

Teaching resources at Allen & Unwin

This is a masterfully written adventure story for middle school readers. The characterisation is superb, even the dogs are easy to get to know! The presence of place is acute, I felt I was on the track with these two heroes, felt the dust and the desolation of a land without grass. The theme of the importance of food security, of looking after our land and learning from and listening to indigenous owners, penetrates throughout.
Liz Derouet
I picked this up after hearing it was 'like mad max with dogs'- it was incredible. Beautiful, thoughtful and exciting.
Charlotte McDonald
This book is set in a dark and raw new world, and the feeling of danger sticks with you as you read. It's an epic cross-country quest to find safety and family. With dogs. I love how MacDibble throws different science disasters into her books, because it makes the reader question - how close are we to this particular future? An enjoyable and exciting read.
HM Waugh
Random read aloud request from my 11 year old had me up late a few nights and waking with a raspy voice. I don’t think she wanted me to stop because she wanted to know everything was going to be ok ... or maybe that was just me. Another great novel to make one think about the future and what part we are playing in making sure it is a fruitful one for all.
Sharlene Evans

  • Winner: New Zealand Book Awards CYA - Junior Fiction (the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award) 2019
  • Winner: Aurealis Award for Best Children's Fiction 2019
  • Honour Book: KOALA Awards 2023
  • Shortlisted: Children's Book Council of Australia, Book of the Year, Younger Readers
  • Shortlisted: YABBA, CROC and KOALA Awards, 2023
  • Nominated for the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal UK

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