Night John

ISBN: 0440820723
ISBN 13: 9780440820727
By: Gary Paulsen

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Currently Reading English 420 Fiction Historical Historical Fiction School Slavery To Read Ya Young Adult

Reader's Thoughts


-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.

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.

Yara El

I liked the book Night john. I liked Night john because it goes in deep details. Another reason I like it is because it gives true information. Last reason is because the book gives the true condition of the slaves back then. The book Night John goes into deep details. It explains every event very specifically. It gives enough information so you would know what's happening. For example, it describes the dogs pretty good. It says " They's big dogs and mean as Waller his own self." The book Night John gives true information. It's a non-fiction bool. Those are usually good books because you can learn about what has happened in the past. It talks about how slavery was back then. The slave owners used to not give them much food, whoop them and just treat them very poorly. This book shows the true condition of slaves back then. They were treated like they are some animals on the street. They barley got food, whipped them for nothing and worked really hard. I don't recommend this book to children 12 years and younger. I don't recommend it to them because they are too young to know the horrible past. I would recommend it to older people though.


I kinda of like and dislike the book. One of the reasons is because I don't like the way they treat the slaves. The second reason is that the owners are waiting for the little girls to grow up so they can rape them.Finally the owners don't want to let the slaves study.I don't like the way that the owners treat the slaves. The owners treat the slaves like if they were animals or something like that. The slaves work so hard that the even died because of so much work.I also really hat that the owners wait for the little girls to grow up so they can rape them. The owners only want more slaves to work for them. That's why the little girls are scared to have their period.The owners not even to let the slaves have an education. They don't let the slaves have a future and better opportunities in life. The owners are scared. They think that the slaves would stop working for them.That's some of the reasons why I don't like the book. The only reason I like the book is because the slaves never give up. They work hard. They study for better lives. This is a really good experience because the book for me tells me never to give up no matter how hard you life is.

Elizabeth Sciarra

I read this book when I was in middle school and did not really understand it until I just finished it as a college sophomore. At first the wording was a little tricky to understand, but as I got more in depth into the book and started picking up on how Gary Paulsen was trying to write it, it all began to click.It only took me 45 minutes to read, but I enjoyed every second of it. When I first began reading the book I though the main character was a little boy, but as I continued, I found out it was a girl who was about twelve years old. She went through so much and the descriptions of what happened to her family and friends devastated me. I thought that the plot worked really well along with the narrative. I would definitely recommend this to someone who would want a short but very eye catching read into slavery. I think it is a great book for someone who is in middle school to read because even though it is graphic at some points, I do not think that it goes too far for someone who is that young.


I thought the novel was amazing for many reasons.I thought it was amazing because it represents many values.Some of the values are bold,risk-taking and loyalty. I thought it was bold because in the novel,Sarny (a young slave) has been a slave since she was born.She never learned how to read or write,been abused and worked for days.This is representing bold because although she was treated terribly,she is still standing up and trying so hard to get away form the plantation after what they did to her.She never gave up on herself and kept on trying. I thought the novel was risk-taking as well.I thought it was risk-taking because the slave master abuse many slaves.For an example,the slave master was chasing Sarny because he caught her doing something.(Writing) Sarny ran way because she was afraid she will get hit. Sarny ran to Mammy to hide form the slave master.The slave master chose to punish Mammy so Sarny would feel guilty for not telling him what she was doing.The slave master got Mammy naked and hanged her.The only thing the other slaves can do is not to look at her to show respect for her body.This is risk-taking because Mammy risked her life to go through punishments so Sarny won't get hurt. I also thought the book was representing loyalty. I thought it was representing loyalty because for an example,Mammy took a terrible punishment just to protect Sarny.Another example is that NightJoh (an older man slave) escaped from the plantation but then comes back so he can help Sarny how to read and write.All of these examples are representing loyalty because both older people risk their life to help another one. These are the three reasons why the book was representing many values.Some of the values were bold,risk-taking and loyalty.Thank you for reading my essay.


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.


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.


This is a good book for the people who are into history to understand what happen to other people who were slaves. Also people who didn't know what happen to slaves should read this. Also you could know how slaves communicated. slaves were mistreated and not that many people know that, slaves were hurt or even killed some people should know about how slaves lived night john is a good book for people because he shows how slaves were punished like being streeped naked and whipped in front of people. sometimes slaves had some of their body parts cut off like ears,toes and hands. People whose family was a slave owners told stories about what happen to their slaves. night john has alot of things that i didn't know slave owner did they had facts about slavery in the book. no matter how old you were you had to work mostly when you were 12 years old. People would love this bok thier are sad parts in the book but its worth reading.I hope slavery never happens again because it would be worse because of the new technology we have so there would be more bloody punishments.Slaves communicate by many ways like using blankets,songs and of course letters. Or either sing, their songs are not just songs they sing. Their songs are mostly about how they escape some bbof their songs have something to it.


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.

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!!! :-)

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.


Yes I do like this book. It teaches about how it feels to work as a slave. The book shows how it feels when slaves are in danger. It tells how slaves get treated when disobeying. Night John teaches how it feels by describing how they get treated. Slaves are treated bad they got whipped like Night John had been whipped. The book also said that girls get raped when they are ready to have babies. The book teaches how it feels to work as a slave. When you work as a slave you work for hours and hours and get a short time on resting. When you work as a slave you have to plow the fields and other tiring stuff. When you work as a slave their are rules you must follow, for example if you ran away and got caught you're gonna get killed. The book Night John shows why you shouldn't always obey the law.It also teaches you to not mess with other people or else you're just going to get beet up instead. So that is basically why I like the book. I really recommend you to read the book Night John. If you think you're big and bad than read this book to see if you can take the beating If you disobey any rule. If you disobey anything read this book it might probably change your situation.


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.

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