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Nightjohn Mass Market Paperback


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Nightjohn + Sarny + Nightjohn
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440219361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440219361
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine being beaten for learning to read, shackled and whipped for learning a few letters of the alphabet. Now, imagine a man brave enough to risk torture in order to teach others how to read; his name is Nightjohn, and he sneaks into the slave camps at night to teach other slaves how to read and write. Celebrated author Gary Paulsen writes a searing meditation on why the ability to read and write is radical, empowering , and so necessary to our freedom. These skills threaten our oppressors because they allow us to communicate--to learn the real status of our slavery and to seek liberation. In this tightly written, painful, joyous little novel is a key that may unlock the power of reading for even the most reluctant teens.

From Publishers Weekly

Among the most powerful of Paulsen's works ( Hatchet ; The Winter Room ; Dogsong ), this impeccably researched novel sheds light on cruel truths in American history as it traces the experiences of a 12-year-old slave girl in the 1850s. Narrator Sarny exposes the abuse (routine beatings, bondage, dog attacks, forced "breeding") suffered by her people on the Waller plantation. The punishment for learning to read and write, she knows, is a bloody one, but when new slave Nightjohn offers to teach her the alphabet, Sarny readily agrees. Her decision causes pain for others as well as for herself, yet, inspired by the bravery of Nightjohn, who has given up a chance for freedom in order to educate slaves, Sarny continues her studies. Convincingly written in dialect, this graphic depiction of slavery evokes shame for this country's forefathers and sorrow for the victims of their inhumanity. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers. He has written more than one hundred book for adults and young readers, and is the author of three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#57 in Books > Teens
#57 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

I liked this book alot.
Bergen
Nightjohn, a slave, escaped previously to the North, learning how to read and write.
Luke Gorman
I had to read Nightjohn for school and it was a truly fabulous book.
rzaster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This story is an intense and graphic account of the brutal conditions endured by slaves. The "Master" exerted extreme control over all facets of the slaves' lives, including eating, sleeping, and reproduction. Horrific punishments were dealt out to those who violated any of the rules. I found this short book moving and affecting, illuminating the inhuman conditions the slaves endured.
However, this book was assigned to my 10-year old son as summer reading. This book is grossly inappropriate for children. Despite its brevity, this book is way too intense for children, dealing with a topic that is better suited to high school.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SpongeBob SquarePants on February 22, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading - what does it mean to you? Many adore that word, and those people happen to be bookworms. But some detest that word, considering that reading is boring. Many people take reading for granted. But for an enslaved person, the ability to read is very powerful.
"Nightjohn" is the tale of a young, female, black slave who learned how to read, and the man who dared break the rules to teach it. Sarny is a curious, little girl, a slave from birth, who resides in the plantation of Mr. Waller during the Civil War. For her, life is the same, until a mysterious black man named John teaches her something new, the ability to read and write. Though the rules forbid that a slave should learn that, Sarney and John risk everything to learn and teach one of man's most powerful tactics.
"Nightjohn" - an inspiring tale set during a time of despair and suffering, when the Civil War tore a nation apart, when people sorrowfully leave their families to do what they believed was right. It was a time when slavery existed, and suffering slaves risk their lives to seek freedom.
Short and fast-moving (only 90 pages), "Nightjohn" has an important message. Many people can learn from this story. It teaches that words are the most powerful weapon that can be used against injustice and corruption. The book acuratelly portrays the cruel and violent life of a slave during 1800s America, and the despairs and hopes they kept during a horrible time. "Nightjohn" will convince you that slavery should never have existed!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bergen on February 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Iam a big Gary Paulsen fan. Im trying to read all of his books. I started reading Hatchet in 5th grade. Ive read, about 5 of his books, and soon found out that he has a wide selection of more books. I just finished "NightJohn". I thought this book was very well written. I understood it very well. But I do recommened something before you read this book. I am an 8th grader, and I have just finished studying in my History class about the Civil War , and slavery, and I recommened that you should learn alittle about the Civil War, and slavery before you read this book. Because you wouldn`t understand it if you didn`t know about. I liked this book alot. The semi- part life time tale of Sarny. Sarny is a young black slave who is born into a plantation in the South. She tells the story in a very "horrific" way I think. She tells of her "master" and how badly they are treaten. I gave this book 5 stars for its well written contents. I almost was going to give it 4 stars because of the continual cursing. But by all means, this is a great book , and I would buy it again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rzaster on January 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I had to read Nightjohn for school and it was a truly fabulous book. Gary Paulsen did a great job crafting this. The book is about 12 year old slave Sarny, that lives on a plantation with her caretaker Mammy. One day the mean old master buys a slave named John. Sarny makes a deal with John that she will give him tobacco if he will teach her to read and write. This he does. She learns letters and them spells a word. The master finds her writing and whips Mammy and cuts off two of John's toes.
This is a great book for black history month and a great book to read all year round. I highly reccomend this book for a lover of slave fiction, Gary Paulsen, or a great read. Buy and enjoy this great book. Be sure to catch the film adaption of the book on the Disney Channel.
HAPPY READING
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Micah on May 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What a great book! I disagree with the reviews above when they say that the violence is redundant and excessive. Truth is, life was really like that on the plantation. The reader is almost transported back in time. This book is a good contrast to many history books that tend to downplay the intense cruelty inflicted on southern slaves. My recommendation? Take this book with you to Williamsburg, VA and ask the tour guides questions about it as they tell you how "well treated" the slaves were.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Holly T on July 1, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
One of my favorite ways to teach history is through making connections between historic fictions and non-fiction books. Gary Paulsen has done an excellent job with drawing the reader in and holding their attention. This is one of the most moving books for this time in history. The kids get totally involved emotionally as I read it aloud. Great class discussion pursue with lots of critical thinking. This is a must have book for a classroom library but of course pretty much all of Gary Paulsen books are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Annie T. Jordan on May 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My children are in their 30/s now and I discovered the movie on VHS when my children were preteens. This was my youngest son favorite movie as a child and he still love it to this day. And he now shares this movie with his 6 year old son instilling in him the love for reading. Now, when i discover the book, I just had to get it, read it in one day and it was exact onpoint like the movie. Every household should have the movie or the book or both as I do. It truly points out the importance of a MUSt for reading and having an education.
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