ISBN: 0440219736
ISBN 13: 9780440219736
By: Gary Paulsen Jerry Pinkney

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Civil War Currently Reading Fiction Historical Historical Fiction School Slavery To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

So many readers have written and asked: What happened to Sarny, the young slave girl who learned to read in Nightjohn? Extraordinary things happened to her, from the moment she fled the plantation in the last days of the Civil War, suddenly a free woman in search of her sold-away children, until she found them and began a new life. Sarny's story gives a panoramic view of America in a time of trial, tragedy, and hoped-for change, until her last days in the 1930s.From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Thoughts


The book starts out as the main character explaining her life. Along the way she has two kids that she names, Tyler and Delie. Then one day they get taken because of a bad bet at a poker game. The man that won the poker game, came one day with a wagon and picked up the two children. That’s where the story begins to get interesting. If Sarny, the main character, wasn’t herself, or had different ideas on what there is in life to look forward to, I think that there wouldn’t be a book. Sarny really can teach readers a lot about the good things in life and to stand up for what is right, instead of going with the crowd. If Sarny didn’t meet up with Laura, who is a rich women from down in New Orleans, she probably wouldn’t have found her children as fast as she did. Sarny may have never found them. The book takes place in the south, which is more believable than the north because there isn’t nearly as much slavery as there is in the south in this time period. The setting really plays a large part in making the book more believable.I think that "Sarny" is a good book for anyone who likes to read about history, but in a fictional way. In the book they incorporate a little bit of history along with alot of different ideas and thoughts from the time period of the civil war. It is a very well thought out book with a great theme of, never give up, embedded into it.

Rena Jane

I enjoyed this young adult book very much. I haven't read the first book, Nightjohn, yet. Now I'm prompted to. This is the continued story of one of the Nightjohn characters. Sarny is a slave who's children are sold off just before the end of the Civil War. When she and another slave escape, they head out to find her children. She picks up another abandoned child along the way, and then they are befriended by a woman.The story is realistic and gripping. Paulsen in a wonderful writer, and can even write well from the feminine perspective. This would be a great read for someone studying the Civil War, or who is a fan of Paulsen. It's a bit different from his dog and survival stories.


This is a historical fiction written by a plantation slave during the Civil War. Her children were sold out from under her just before she is freed by Union Soldiers, and the book is about her journey to find them and what happened next.I really liked the way this was written, and enjoyed the plot--which, honestly wasn't very realistic, but was still entertaining. I enjoy this author, and would recommend this book.

Theophilus (Theo)

I liked Nightjohn better, perhaps because of the greater concept of the importance of learning. Sarny addreses the fruits of that learning. We learn what happens to the little girl who risked her life to learn to read. It's a beautiful story. Her risks pay off handsomely in the end (financially that is). She suffers personal troubles, but in the end there is a happy ending. a good spin on some of the early freedman schools got their start. Well worth the time.

Rebecca Radnor

Continuation of Nightjohn, but in my opinion its much better because it stays closer to the historical reality of life. Somehow it manages to be in New Orleans during the period of plessy v. ferguson without ever talking about it, or the way that the African American upper class types suddenly had American race norms thrust upon them with the influx of southerners (who were not from New Orleans). In spite of this, its an engrossing story of the slave who Nightjohn taught to read, as she grows to be a woman, lives through the civil war and ends up in New Orleans working as the maid to a very rich and mysterious woman. There are no big events that the book covers, other than the plague in St. Louis, but that is mentioned only in passing, and as I already noted, not even Plessy --- but you'll enjoy the read so much that you won't even notice it.


A wonderful partner to Nightjohn, Sarny grows up and has two children. Of course, in the time of slavery and the Civil War, Sarny finds her freedom, only to have to go searching for her newly-lost children. Perhaps it wraps up a little too tidily, but Gary Paulsen tells a good story anyway. And isn't it nice to think that some things do turn out right in the end?I would recommend this to Fifth grade and up. A clear view of how it might have been in that painful part of American history.


it was really sad it really touched my heart and its sad what they did to myrce and how they treated them


recommended for 6-8th grades, excellent historical fiction to teach reconstruction after the civil war.

Julie Fischer

Gary Paulsen is such a versatile author for middle grade readers. This is a continuation of his book Night John. My class has read several of his book and I believe they learned more of what it was like to be a slave as a young girl than any book I have found for this grade level. Paulsen writes a vivid account of the life of slaves on a plantation during the final year of the Civil War.


I started this book out not thinking I was going to like but I really did. It is the continuation of the book Nightjohn. I cannot help thinking I wish I had the first book to have read before this one. But in the end, I am touched by this story of a slave woman named Sarny. Her story is about the end of slavery and how she set out to find her two children who were sold away from her. In her struggle to get to New Orleans where her children were, she sees the brutality of the battlefields and meets up with Miss Laura. At first, she is simply working for Miss Laura but she befriends this unique woman who changes her life. She finds her true mission in life is teaching other black people to read and write. She dedicates her life to that mission. A truly touching read...

Miss. Morris

I really liked this book. Despite not liking history this book gave me a new light on slavery. It can be violent at times.

Erika Forth

This book was read aloud to my class by a professor and she made some great voices with it. A good book like Nightjohn, but perhaps a bit more satisfying and lengthy.

Juanique Roney

Made me cry like a baby. This book was really amazing. Read it when I was 13 and I just really opened my eyes to the reality of slavery in America. Very quick read if you want something entertaining but fast. You could finish it in a couple of hours I bet.


I didnt really like this book becuase it wasnt really my type of book.It wasnt all that bad I would still reccommend it!

Kathy Davidson

very interesting. loved to read about the struggles just after the civil war

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