Night Journeys

( 4 )


Two young indentured servants escape into Pennsylvania in the late 1700s and receive help from an unexpected source.

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.

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Two young indentured servants escape into Pennsylvania in the late 1700s and receive help from an unexpected source.

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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780780743557
  • Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Sales rank: 1,295,048
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.


Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2002


    I thought this book was okay except for I didn't understand how they talked.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2002

    Night Journey

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2002

    Great Book!!!!!

    I thought this book about a boy helping two felons escape was very well written. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a good adventure!

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  • Anonymous

    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 ~

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