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The year is 1768. In eight years, the American Revolution will begin. Newly orphaned, Peter York has been adopted by a deeply religious Quaker fame. Peter chafes under his new guardian's strict and unyielding views and vows to break away. He sees his chance when two runaway indentured servants are reported to be fleeing through his community. If he catches one, there will be a reward—and freedom. But capturing the runaways leads to consequences—and choices—Peter cannot foresee. The year is 1768. In eight years, ...
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The year is 1768. In eight years, the American Revolution will begin. Newly orphaned, Peter York has been adopted by a deeply religious Quaker fame. Peter chafes under his new guardian's strict and unyielding views and vows to break away. He sees his chance when two runaway indentured servants are reported to be fleeing through his community. If he catches one, there will be a reward—and freedom. But capturing the runaways leads to consequences—and choices—Peter cannot foresee. The year is 1768. In eight years, the American Revolution will begin. Newly orphaned, Peter York has been adopted by a deeply religious Quaker fame. Peter chafes under his new guardian's strict and unyielding views and vows to break away. He sees his chance when two runaway indentured servants are reported to be fleeing through his community. If he catches one, there will be a reward—and freedom. But capturing the runaways leads to consequences—and choices—Peter cannot foresee.
Ask Avi how you know when you're a real writer and his answer is simple: "I think you become a writer when you stop writing for yourself or your teachers and start thinking about readers." Avi made up his mind to do that when he was just a senior in high school.
Avi was born in 1937 in New York City and was raised in Brooklyn. Kids often ask him about his name. "My twin sister gave it to me when we were both about a year old. And it stuck." To this day, Avi is the only name the author uses.
As a kid, Avi says, he was "shy, not into sports, but someone who loved to read and play games of imagination." He did not consider himself a good student, though. "In elementaryschool I did well in science, but I was a poor writer. When I got to high school I failed all my courses. Then my folks put me in a small school that emphasized reading and writing." What made him want to become a writer? "Since writing was important to my family, friends and school, it was important to me. I wanted to prove that I could write. But it took years before I had a book published."
Avi didn't start off as an author of children's books but as a playwright. It was only when he had children of his own that he started to write for young people.
When asked if writing is hard for him, Avi gives an unequivocal YES. "But," he goes on, "it's hard for everyone to write well. I have to rewrite over and over again, so on average it takes me a year to write a book." Where does he get his ideas? "Everybody has ideas. The vital question is: What do you do with them? My wife, a college teacher, uses her ideas to understand literature. My rock musician sons shape their ideas in to music. I take my ideas and turn them into stories."
Avi's advice for people who want to write: "I believe reading is the key to writing. the more you read, the better your writing can be." He adds, "Listen, and watch the world around you. Don't be satisfied with answers others give you. Don't assume that because everyone believes a thing, that it is right or wrong. Reason things out for yourself. Work to get answers on your own. Understand why you believe things. Finally, write what you honestly feel, then learn from the criticism that will always come your way."Avi's many award-winning books for young readers include the Newbery Honor Books Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, as well as more Tales from Dimwood Forest, including Poppy, winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, Poppy and Rye, and Ragweed. His many other books include tales of mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction for young readers of all ages.In His Own Words...
When I was small, I was read to continually. My grandparents were always telling stories. Our house was filled with books. I saw adults read. Hardly a wonder, then, that I becane a early reader of all sorts of things — books for childern, comic books, science magazines, history books — anything in which I could fing a story. There was kids' radio too, which I adored. Even so, writing didn't interest me.
It was in my junior year of high school that a great crisis took place: My English teacher informed my parents that I was the worst student he ever had. That summer I was required to spend a lot os time with a family friend, a teacher, who tutored me in writing basics. She gave me something even more important: a reason for writing.
Writing, she taught me, was not just for myself or for some teacher. It was a way of sharing ideas and stories with many. With that notion in mind, I set out after that summer to be a writer, though it wasn't until I had childern of my own that I began to write for young people.
I believe that as a writer for kids, I have three basic options. The first is to write as well as I can. The second is to be honest. The third is to create a vision of possibility. It doesn't matter if that vision is happy or tragic, funny or serious. What does matter is that I show that life is worth living, that we must at least try to fulfill the promise of ourselves. As one of my characters once said, "A good childern's book of promises. And promises are ment to be kept."
I really enjoy meeting my readers. Each year I visit schools and classrooms, and talk to young readers, teachers, and librarians all over the country. We talk about books, the writing and reading of them, how books affect — even change — their readers. It's a good life.
In the spring of 1768, twelve-year-old Peter, living with his Quaker guardian near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border, joins in the search for two runaway indentured servants.
My name is Peter York. I place here before you the testimony of the great crisis in my life,how it came to pass and what was the result.
In the fall of 1767, when I was twelve years of age, my family perished by a fever. I alone, by God's grace, was spared.
The evening of the funeral I was at the minister's house, and while I sat alone by the kitchen table, a meeting was held in the next room to decide what was to be done with me.
The knowledge that they were debating my future made me frantic, — afraid as I was that none would have me. For though I was willing to work, I had nothing I could call my own save our mare, Jumper. Sitting there I longed to cry, but dared not, lest they discover me and think me an infant.
When at last the meeting grew still, I knew a decision had been reached. Sure enough, the door opened and the minister walked in.
"Peter," he announced, "here's Mister Shinn to take you.
I looked past the minister. There in the dim light of the candle I recognized the Quaker Everett Shinn, a man I knew only as the leader of the Quaker community and by the fact that he was the township's justice of the Peace.
"Mister Shinn has kindly consented to take you in, Peter," said the minister. "If you promise to work hard, he'll treat you well."
"Yes, sir, " I replied.
"Stand up and take his hand to mark the bargain," the minister prompted, a smile of charity glowing on his face.
I did as I was told. Mr. Shinntook my hand solemnly, peered at me, and nodded.
"Come, boy," urged the minister. "Have you nothing to say?
I hardly knew what to speak. "Thank you, sir," I managed.
"Good!" cried the minister. "Mister Shinn, as ever, you're a credit to our township!
In moments my horse was led out. Mr. Shinn mounted her and pulled me up behind him. Off we set in the dark for my new home and life. Mr. Shinn had not said one word.
Night Journeys. Copyright © by Richard Saul Avi. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted December 21, 2002
Posted October 9, 2002
Peter is a newly orphaned boy who gets adopted by a very religious Quakers. Peter hates them and tries to go bondsmen hunting for a reward of his freedom. When he finally catches one he realizes that the bondsman is his age. Now he must chose which is more important his freedom or the bondsman¿s life. The way Avi expresses the characters feelings are sensational, only out matched by the incredible rush you get when Peter is on the hunt. Peter is a young boy who has no parents to guide him through life. He is a ruthless individual who will stop at nothing to get his freedom. Avi¿ knack for expressing Peter¿s hatred toward the Shinn¿s is almost scary that one human could ever feel that way toward anther. While reading Night Journeys I visualized and made connections to our world. The way Peter was hunting down the bondsman reminded me of the way the U.S.A is hunting and searching for Osama Bin Ladin. Night Journeys, was an easy read book that I would recommend forto an age group of people from 11-14. Right from the start to the very end this book gripped me in a way that I was unable to put the book down. Avi, a New Berry Award winner doesn¿t fail to bring her A game in writing this story and certainly doesn¿t disappoint the reader either.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 14, 2002
Posted June 25, 2001
I was in a fifth grade, ILA classroom one day last school year, and the students were in four groups of six. The groups were chosen by the children chosing the book they wanted to read. One group was 'Night Journeys' by Avi and the kids in the group had so much fun doing the project. As well as the other students in the other groups had just as much fun watching the 'Night Journeys' act. I would have to say that 'Night Jouneys' was the best book out of them all. I make that decision by the applause the children in the 'Night Journeys' group recieved from the other children. I have to say that it is a great book for fifth graders and 'KIDS LOVE IT!!!' Tara Konen ~ sixth grade student of Keith Valley Middle School~ 2001 graduate of Pennypack Elementary ~ Hatboro-Horsham School District ~Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.