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Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen
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Nightjohn (1996)

by Gary Paulsen

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This book is about a young girl in a slave plantation. She encounters a man who teaches her to learn, and helps other people learn so they can escape.
I like this book because it keeps you thinking all through the book. There are many different ways the book could have ended, and I did not expect it to end the way it did.
I would say this book should be for kids in 5 or 6th grade and up because of its graphic content that appears occasionally.
  AmyGelle | Oct 20, 2014 |
1. This story is about a young girl growing up as a slave. A man gets purchased by her owner who then starts teaching her to read. He teaches her a few letters then runs away in the middle of the night. Later, he comes back to get Sarny and brings her to a little area with a few other slave children and he continues to teach them all to read.
2. I really liked the way this story showed slavery from a child's point of view. I would use it in my teaching to broaden children's understanding of slavery, our country's history, and the importance of equality.
3. I think this story would be a great supplement to a unit/theme on slavery or equality and injustice. I believe the age range for this book would be between 8-10 years old. Give or take due to developmental level.
  samjanke | Oct 19, 2014 |
This book was a decent read. It was very difficult for me to get into because of the language used. I feel like the language was efficient because it set the reader back in time and put them into the scene, but it was difficult for me to follow since I didn't understand. I had to go back and read often. I did like the theme of the story because what NightJohn did was extremely powerful. After taking the blame and getting his toes cut off, he continued to teach other slaves to read and write. This is something not most people would do. I think this book's message is the power of sacrifice. ( )
  mingra2 | May 6, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book for a few reasons. I really liked the characters in the book, especially night John. I thought he was such an inspiring and brave character. Although he knew it was not aloud, he still risked his life in order to teach the other slaves to read, which I thought was so caring and brave of him. I also really enjoyed the plot of the book. Even though he faced troubles of having his toes chopped off, he doesn’t just sit around, he escapes to freedom and even eventually comes back for Sarny in order to still help her. I thought it was so awesome how even after being hurt for trying to help Sarny, he still risks coming back in order to help her. I think the overall message is doing the right thing. Even though sometimes you can get penalized and punished for doing the right thing, never give up, because in the end it is always the right thing to do. ( )
  jobend2 | Apr 30, 2014 |
Overall, I felt this was a great book and taught me a lot about how difficult it was to try and learn during the time of slavery. The first element of the story that I enjoyed were the characters. Specifically, the development of the characters throughout the story. John was such a brave character, sacrificing his freedom because he knew he had a gift to be able to teach people how to read. As the reader, we definitely had a sense of feeling when John had his toes cut off because he wanted to help Sarny. The next element that I enjoyed was the plot. The plot was well developed and the story moved along smoothly. The plot came full circle at the end with the tension created when John returned to save Sarny and take her to “pit-school.” The third element of the story that I enjoyed was the title that the author chose. I feel that the title, “NIGHTJOHN” is a great set-up for the plot of the story and how John can only teach at night due to the plantation owners. In the end, I felt the message of the book was that education is valuable and it’s worth sacrificing things for because it can be the foundation for your future.
  tricha11 | Apr 20, 2014 |
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Questo libro è dedicato alla memoria di Sally Hemings, comperata, allevata e in seguito usata da Thomas Jefferson, terzo Presidente degli Stati Uniti, senza che mai potesse permettersi un solo respiro da donna libera.
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Questa è una storia su John della notte.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440219361, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:38 -0400)

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Twelve-year-old Sarny's brutal life as a slave becomes even more dangerous when a newly arrived slave offers to teach her how to read.

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