Running Before the Wind

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Running Before the Wind
Running Before the Wind by Linda Woolverton.jpg
First edition cover
Author Linda Woolverton
Cover artist Darryl Zudeck
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young adult
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date
April 1, 1987[1]
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 168 (first edition)[1]
ISBN 0-395-42116-0
OCLC 14412450
LC Class PZ7.W88715 Ru 1987
Preceded by Star Wind

Running Before the Wind is a young adult novel by American writer Linda Woolverton, published in 1987 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Plot summary[edit]

For thirteen-year-old Kelly, running is like running away from the anger and the pain - it lets her forget, at least for a few miles a day, just how much she hurts. But when she is invited to join the junior high track team, Kelly's father dashes her hopes with a blunt "No". Kelly knows there is little she can say to change his mind. In fact, she is afraid of saying anything at all. Kelly lives in fear of her father. He could be nice for days, then lash out in frightening violence. While her mother and sister will do anything to keep the peace, Kelly refuses to pretend that nothing is wrong. Then suddenly, miracously, Kelly is freed from her father's unpredictable rage. But now she feels trapped in a life filled with anger and violence of her own.


After quitting her job at CBS, Linda Woolverton began to work as a substitute teacher when wrote Running Before the Wind. In that time, she had already written a novel, Star Wind, which was published one year earlier than Running Before the Wind also by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.[2]


Was with Running Before the Wind that Linda Woolverton got the job of screenwriter of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. She took a copy of the book to the studio, which ended up being read by Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who then called her for an interview.[2][3]


  • "Grade 6-9 Living in fear of her father's violence during the day, Kelly's night runs become the most important thing in her life. When her father is killed in a boat accident, she is secretly glad that she no longer has to be frightened. It is the track coach who helps her understand her anger and come to terms with her father's death, and her relief is reconciled with her loss and recognition that she misses her father. Her passion for running is as intense as Bullet's in The Runner by Cynthia Voigt (Atheneum, 1985) who also ran as a salvation from turmoil, but this story is not similar otherwise nor in the same league. While Voigt's strength is in characterization, Woolverton's is in the emotional pitch. The other characters (the wimpy mother and sister) serve simply as counterpoints to Kelly's struggles. The explanation of her father having had polio as a reason for forbidding Kelly to join the track team seems insufficient, as do the explanations of frustration and a bad childhood as the cause of his violent outbursts. Yet the emotional intensity of Woolverton's narrative will hold readers as the plot, much like a paced long-distance race, drives to its finish. One caveat: the final two sentences of the novel, which state that Kelly wants her abusive father back, "no matter what", might give children the inappropriate message that putting up with an abusive parent is better than having no parent at all." School Library Journal


  1. ^ a b "RUNNING BEFORE THE WIND by Linda Woolverton". Kirkus. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Woolard, John (September 8, 1996). "Life is a fairy tale for Disney screenwriter Linda Woolverton". Star-Banner. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ Senger, Amy. "2014 Newport Beach Film Festival: A Talk With 'Maleficent' Screenwriter Linda Woolverton". Pacific Punch. Retrieved May 25, 2014.