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North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railroad Paperback – January 11, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (January 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044022747X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440227472
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A 16-year-old girl with two suitors undertakes a daring plan to help slaves along the Underground Railroad. According to PW, "The heroine's dramatic self-actualization is at least as important as the period setting." Ages 10-up. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-The talents of narrator Christina Moore enhance Katherine Ayers' heartfelt, suspenseful historical novel about a girl's involvement with the Underground Railroad (Delacorte, 1998). Set in 1851 Ohio, the story finds 16-year-old Lucy Spencer thinking about dating, parties, and friends. However, she decides to devote herself to helping runaway slaves after Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act, and a Southern stranger arrives in town offering a reward for any slaves returned to him. Lucy moves in with the lively widow, Aurelia Mercer, and they help hide a family of fugitive slaves (one of them pregnant) in the attic. Moore reads the story with tenderness and clarity; her performance is beautifully understated. Her flexible voice brings to life a variety of characters, and her portrayal of Lucy's pesky brother is especially convincing. In Moore's hands, the tough yet lovable Aurelia makes an indelible impression. Told through Lucy's diary entries and letters, listeners seeking an historical drama laced with poignancy, some humor, and suspense will be captivated. Lucy is a decent, moral character whom many kids will enjoy getting to know, and Christina Moore helps bring Lucy and her adventures to life.
Brian E. Wilson, Evanston Public Library, IL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 32 customer reviews
The way Lucy gets one of these slaves to freedom is so moving.
stephanie kirk
The book had a great meaning and idea but the ending left me hanging and it was a little confusing at points.
DancemomNJ
When the time comes to help as much as she can she makes the biggest choice of her life.
Rinaldi Fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Laurenda and Kelli on October 27, 2002
Format: School & Library Binding
Life in the 1850's was an intense period in American history. Conflicts between the northern and southern ways of life caused major conflicts. Life was challenging but families worked together to create thriving homes. Set up as a series of dated journal entries, the pages of this engaging novel are straight from the mind of a courageous heroine, sixteen-year old Lucinda Spencer. Between farming chores and a blossoming love life, Lucinda struggles with an abundance of challenges and choices. Her great passion in life since the age of 12 is to work with her family on the Underground Railroad and help fugitive slaves escape to freedom in Canada. When other local Ohio conductors are caught breaking the Fugitive Slave Laws by harboring runaways, her family must be more cautious than ever. Despite the consequences of imprisonment and high fines, Lucy braves her greatest challenge when an expectant mother is among a group of weary fugitives in the dead of winter. While her friends believe she is nursing the respected Miss Aurelia during her alleged battle with smallpox, she is actually helping the widow, a fellow worker, prepare her new friends for their journey north. During this time, she communicates with her loved ones through written letters and with the reader through journal entries. Lucy quickly learns there is more to life than traditional sewing and cooking skills. She deals with complex issues of loyalty and diversity. In the end, when she is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, she learns the real meaning of sacrificial love. Although written on a fifth grade level, this book has implied themes of slavery and adult relationships that may seem more suitable for seventh or eight graders. It could easily be used to reinforce lessons in history, geography, music, and character values. An interesting approach to a shadowy topic all as seen through the eyes of one exceedingly valiant teenage girl, North by Night is historical fiction at its best.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By stephanie kirk on January 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Through the inspiring journal entries of a sixteen year old, young readers can feel what it must be like to work on the Underground Railroad. Lucy Spencer has been helping on the Underground Railroad since she was twelve years old. When Lucy is asked to help at the Widow Mercer's house at the age of sixteen to hide a family of runaway slaves in the attic, she doesn't hesitate. The way Lucy gets one of these slaves to freedom is so moving. I absolutely loved this book and it made me and will make readers of any age think about sacrifices that we make for people in our lives or that we should make. Readers will also get a sense of the time period that the book is set in and how it must have been back then.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on September 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I read this book, I immediately fell in love with it. Not only does it have adventure and romance, but it made me actually interested in history for once. This book is about the courageous 16-year-old abolitionist Lucinda Spencer, whose house is a station in the underground railroad. Her world is a world of slave rescue and secrecy, division between the north and south over the Fugitive Slave Laws. She sets off on the greatest adventure and deception of her life. She is to help Miss Aurelia aid runaway slaves to freedom, under the story that Miss Aurelia has small pox and Lucy is helping her to recover. Her must help nine slaves, one an expectant mother, and now her new friends prepare to go to Canada. She keeps in touch with her family and friends through letters. She learns her true beliefs and the beliefs of others and learns that for her there will be more to life than cooking and cleaning. In the end, when she must make her biggest sacrifice and give up everything she has known and loved, she learns how much she has taken for granted. This is a book that not only contains adventure and romance, but also portrays the the topic of slavery through the eyes of a brave 16-year-old heroine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tammy and Jennifer on October 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
During the 1850's the north and the south were divided over slavery. Lucy Spencer a young girl of 16, who lived in Ohio, had been helping her family run an Underground Railroad station since she was 12. Lucy's life slowly begins to change as she becomes more personally involved. Young Lucy is soon awakened by her own personal convictions concerning slavery, particularly when she befriends and becomes emotionally attached to a family fleeing north. In addition, she finds herself torn between the Presbyterian boy she always thought she would marry, and a young Quaker, whose convictions are very similar to hers but lifestyle is vastly different. Through the guidance of an older woman, Miss Aurelia, Lucy discovers an inner strength as she is drawn deeper involved in the world of the Underground Railroad. Eventually, Lucy's involvement leads her to the difficult decision of saving the life of an orphaned colored baby and as a consequence leaving her town and family forever.
This is a typical coming of age story of a young northern girl who comes to the realization that she has the ability to choose for herself the direction of her life, and the convictions she must follow. This is an excellent story that weaves the reader slowly and thoughtfully into the life of Lucy and the world of the Underground Railroad. This book is an excellent resource to use with either 4th or 5th graders who are being introduced to the topic of slavery for the first time. This book also allows the teacher a rich variety of topics to integrate into other content areas such as, history, language arts, geography and social relationships.
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North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railroad
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