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Nightjohn

Nightjohn

by Gary Paulsen Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

"To know things, for us to know things, is bad for them. We get to wanting and when we get to wanting it's bad for them. They thinks we want what they got... That's why they don't want us reading." — "Nightjohn"

"I didn't know what letters was, not what they meant, but I thought it might be something I wanted to know. To learn." — Sarny

Sarny, a female slave at the Waller plantation, first sees Nightjohn when he is brought there with a rope around his neck, his body covered in scars.

He had escaped north to freedom, but he came back to teach reading. Knowing that the penalty for reading is dismemberment, Nightjohn still returned to slavery to teach others how to read. And twelve-year-old Sarny is willing to take the risk to learn.

Set in the 1850s, Gary Paulsen's groundbreaking new novel is unlike anything else the award-winning author has written. It is a meticulously researched, historically accurate, and artistically crafted portrayal of a grim time in our nation's past, brought to light through the personal history of two unforgettable characters.

Ages
11, 13
Interest Level
Grades 6 - 8
Grade Level Equivalent
4.2
Lexile Measure
770L
DRA
70
Guided Reading
Z
Publisher
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages
96
Genre
Historical Fiction

About the Author and Illustrator

Gary Paulsen Children's author Gary Paulsen ran away from home at the age of fourteen. His experience in diverse jobs and a wide range of interests have provided the basis for many of his works, including Hatchet and Dogsong .
Jerry Pinkney Jerry Pinkney has been illustrating children's books since 1964, illustrating over one hundred titles and has been the recipient of five Caldecott Honor Medals, a Caldecott Medal, and five The New York Times "Best Illustrated Books".

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