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. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993 Release date: 01/01/1993 Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 92 pages - 978-0-606-07951-8
Prebound-Glued - 92 pages - 978-0-7857-3656-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7807-4782-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 112 pages - 978-0-440-21936-1
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