Night John

ISBN: 0440820723
ISBN 13: 9780440820727
By: Gary Paulsen

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Reader's Thoughts


This book is about Sarny, a slave girl that lives on a plantation in the southern United States and meets a man named Nightjohn. Sadly that is the bulk of the story. I am disappointed with Gary Pualsen as I have read some of his other books and liked them. On amazon this book is for 12+. The only thing that I liked about it was the fact that it showed the utter brutality of slavery, as the content was for older kids but the complexity and plot of the story was overly simple. I warn whoever wants to read this book that it is a very quick read, and not something you should choose to analyze, as there is very little that takes place during the plot.

David Sanchez-garcia

NIGHTJOHNI like this book. It’s interesting. I was amazed at where Nightjohn did just to be with the slaves. I think this book is sad too.When he was teaching Sarny.When he defends mammy.And he made his shoes.This book interesting Sarny learns to be literate. I also liked when there was a slave running but they caught him when Nightjohn defends mammy and Sarny. I felt depressed.This book is interesting. It showed me how slaves used to live. The characters were very clever. They were brave. It shows how people were under control and being slave is dangerous. Slaves were not allow to do mostly anything. For example the slaves weren't allow to read and write.They were clever. They were hiding from waller just so sarny could learn.Nightjohn made his shoes out of rawhide and put lard and pepper on them so the dogs couldn’t follow him.Nightjohn was brave when he stood up for mammh. Nightjohn knew the rules but Sarny wanted to still learn how to read and write.Nightjohn would teach her how to read and write in the night when waller isn’t there.


What I think about NightJohn is that it was interesting.The first thing I like was when sarny learn the words.Then I liked when NightJohn got his toes cut off .The last thing I likee was when he help the slaves learn words.My favorite part was when sarny learn the words.It made me feel happy when sarny knew the words.It they ever escape they would know how to read signs.My other favorite part was when NightJohn got his toes cut off.It made me feel sad because the only thing NightJohn was trying to do was teach slaves how to read and write.So I think that Waller did something bad.The last thing I liked was when NightJohn help the slaves learn the words.They had a pit school underground because that was the only way they would learn words and it was the only on the nights because they had to work on the day time.Inconclusion I think the book was interesting.It show how slaves were treated.I recommand the book.


I think the book Nightjohn is great.It have a lot of actions and sad can learn a lot of stuff important from the book.The book tells you how you should treat people.It have a lot of actions and sad moments. When Nightjohn escapes it was a really big action because it's really hard for a slave to escape to the north.and when they whipped mammy in the spring was very painful and sad because she is an old women.A man can take it but a women can can learn many important stuff from the book. you can learn about the bast of the slaves and how they where can learn that there is not different between people. Its just there look that dose not mean you have to treat them differently. you can learn about how slaves escapes and what happen if they try to read or write and many other thinks.The book tells you how you should treat people.There is no different between people.every person should be treated the same as you treat your parent and your family. does not matter there look or there skin color what matter is what they are really inside.I liked Nightjohn book and i hope you agree with me about how people should be treated equally.NO i don't recommend Nightjohn book because it's heartful and it's sad also painful book :)

Mr. Z

For such a short book, this story packs a powerful punch! Yes, in today's world, there is still racism and rampant unfairness as it relates to the color of one's skin. Many kids already know this based on their personal experiences and observations. While today's world still needs some fixing, this story will shock students into the even-uglier realities kids and adults of color faced during a time in which slavery was perfectly legal. This story tells one girl's nightmare of living on a slavery plantation. Imagine what it would be like if learning how to read and write was prohibited and daring to do so behind the back of slave owners would lead to dastardly consequences (including the insanely cruel act of outwardly punishing and torturing this little girl's mother!). This is what 12 year-old's Sarny's life is like. How she deals with it will teach a hard-hitting lesson of courage to anyone, especially among today's crop of often-spoiled and always-naive generation of "entitled" young learners.

Arielle Banks

Genre: realistic fictionTags: history, slavery, african-american, troubled times,etc.My review: I have read this book many times before and it has never gotten boring or old to me. Even though I enjoy it very much, I will give it 4.5 out 5 stars in ratings. I say this because it is a very powerful book and it explicitly tells me what my ancestors and others went through during slavery. I found it emotional and moving at certain periods. I think me watching the movie also influences my judgement of it because I saw the imagery created during the reading of the book come to life and action in the movie. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a more in depth detail of history.Plot Summary: in the book, sarny, an African American little girl, meets another slave who was just like her in particular ways. His was known as NightJohn. He appeared to the plantation beaten with scars and wounds on his body. He had these because he had escaped to the north for freedom and came back to teach reading to the other slaves. Back then, it was absolutely lethal and wrong for an African American to be literate. Well, NightJohn ends up teaching Sarny how to read and write but they must be very careful so the master won't discover what they are doing. In the very end, some of the slaves escape to the north also.


-The book Nightjohn was very interesting.Nightjohn was tortured by his owners. He was smart enough to escape.The book is great to learn about slaves. -Nightjohn was tortured by owners. He had big scars on his back from his old his old owners. Waller cut off his two of his toes. -Nightjohn was smart enough to escape the plantation. He made shoe and put pepper under his shoe so the dog can't track him.He used the star as a map. -The book Nightjohn can teach you a lot about slaves. It tells you why slaves can't read or write. It also say how slaves were treated. -I like the book Nightjohn because it was wonderful. It was awesome. I do think other people should read this book to learn about slaves.

Megan S

Nightjohn is a memorable story that takes place at the whitehouse. A young girl named Sarny was displaced with her mother right after 4 years with her and was taken to be a slave. Every day she sees new people come in in either a good or a bad way, and one day Nightjohn comes in a bad way. He comes with a rope tied around his neck and gets whipped on by Clel Waller, the head person of the white house. One night Nightjohn comes to Sarny and starts talking to her and said that if she gives him one pinch of tobacco he would teach her one letter. "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." Sarny knows the punishment for learning words and letters but will she take the risk to know how to read? Or will she take the safe way out of it and follow the whitehouse’s rules? Find out in this very well-written story, Nightjohn. I recommend this book for young adult readers.

Marlen Hernandez

I liked NightJohn. I like it because it shows what slaves owners did to slaves. The characters gave up. I did not enjoy reading about some of the things that they forced them to do. I liked NightJohn because it showed what slaves owners did to slaves. They whipped them if they didn't do their work. If they caught them learning to read or write they would cut off a thumb. The characters never gave up. NightJohn was teaching Sarney how to read and write and then he got caught. Mr.Waller cut off his toe but he still taught Sarney more letters. He did not stop even though Waller hurt him. I did not not enjoy reading about some of the things that they forced them to do. As soon as they got their periods they were forced to be breeders. They also didn't have freedom on anything. I liked NightJohn because it shows what slaves owners did to slaves. The characters never gave up but I did not enjoy reading about some of the things they were forced to do. Everybody should read NightJohn.


I would place this book in the historical/nonfiction genre. The inside flap says that while specific names and places are changed the events are true.This is a touching story about a freed slave who willingly goes into slave territory to teach reading and writing. His name is John and he comes at night. Paulsen does not shy away from the horrors of slavery. It is real and sad, but also hopeful and inspirational. The narrator is a young girl named Sarney and she is the first on her plantation to begin to learn with him. Though there are struggles she begins to read and write; she begins to gain power through knowledge.I love this book. It is a short read for anyone who wants to experience an inspiring story.

Laura Carranza

I will write about how i like NightJohn. Nightjohn helped me understand how it was to be a slave.I found out it is to do what ever you want to do. My last reason is that it was interesting to know hear how people lived back then.NightJohn helped me understand how it was to be a slave. they suffered back then. Slaves had to work a lot. They had work.Some people did not have money and did not get payed.I found out how hard it is to do what evr you wnat to do.People back then did not go to school. They where not supposed to know how to read and write. Montly men had to wrok all daynight. So they were no body in life.My last reasin is that it was interesting to hear how people lived back then. I think by learning that the slaves back then i felt lucky to have esucation. All of the slaevs didn't even know how to read or write. They did not know anything about the world that is out side of where they areI like NightJohn. It was interesting. I recomend it to read the book NightJohn.


I'm reading my bookshelves in preparation of the purge. Thought I'd begin with something small and picked up Nightjohn.It has been my regular reading experience to find the best reading in smaller texts. Ayn Rand was at her best in Anthem. Both Animal Farm and 1984 are brief, yet pack a punch. Sarny lives in slavery and is, therefore, forbidden the knowledge of reading and writing. Nightjohn possesses this taboo knowledge, and insists that others in servitude should possess it as well, even though the penalty for possessing, exercising, or sharing such knowledge is, in this story, dismemberment. When I think of the real generations descended from such as the likes of Nightjohn and Sarny, imagined as they are, who couldn't be bothered to read, write, or tell a story of their own making, I feel that people are a terrific disappointment, that they do not appreciate the sacrifices that came together to make their current existences reality in a country that once legally held their people as chattel.Simple, straightforward, Nightjohn is moving and inspiring.


Nightjohn, by Gary Pulsen is a classic novel about a twelve year old slave girl called Sarny, and her life serving in one of the many plantations. While Sarny is working one day, she sees a tall slave with whip marks on his back entering the camp... Later when Sarny is back at "home", the same tall slave enters and asks for tobbacco in trade for letters. Sarny complies, and continues to learn more and more letters, and eventually, learns to read. She finds out that the man's name is Nightjohn, and he had escaped from slavery, only to come back and teach others to read.. I think this is a good book for a quick easy read, for sweet and sour sentiments. I would reccomend this book to anyone interested in Gary Paulsen, slavery in the 1850's, or looking to read good classics.


I dislike this book. It doesn't make sense to me. It is boring to read. It doesn't explain things the way is supposed to. I dislike this book because it doesn't make sense. It's confusing to me. It has words I didn't understand. I didn't understand when Sarny was learning how to write. I dislike this book because is boring. It doesn't have a lot of action. For examples slaves got whipped it wasn't that much action. I dislike this book because it doesn't explain the way is supposed to. I didn't understand why mammy slapped john in the face. I didn't understand and why john only came out at night. I'n conclusion I didn't like Night John. I thought I t was boring and confusing I do not recommend this book.

Sydney Campbell

We read this book in class-LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! I love the story and the idea. It tells a wonderful perspective from the main character's point of view. If you are looking for a historical-fiction kind of book, I would recommend this!!! :-)

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