Illustrated by: Terry Fan
For Ages: 8 - 12
  • 5
Embrace possibility in this luminous novel about a girl in search of her past who discovers a secret rooftop world in Paris.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive—but “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has— the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers—urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother—but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series, calls Rooftoppers “the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination.”
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442490581 | 
  • September 2013 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7 | 
  • Lexile 490L
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Katherine Rundell discusses her highly acclaimed debut novel, Rooftoppers.

Read an Excerpt

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About the Author

Katherine Rundell
Photograph by Blair Mowat

Katherine Rundell

Katherine Rundell is the author of Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner), and The Wolf Wilder. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Brussels, and London, and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She begins each day with a cartwheel and believes that reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless. In her spare time, she enjoys walking on tightropes and trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford colleges.