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Steal Away Home

Steal Away Home

4.0 12
by Lois Ruby

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When twelve-year-old Dana Shannon starts to strip away wallpaper in her family's old house, she's unprepared for the surprise that awaits her. A hidden room — containing a human skeleton! How did such a thing get there? And why was the tiny room sealed up?
With the help of a diary found in the room, Dana learns her house was once a station on the


When twelve-year-old Dana Shannon starts to strip away wallpaper in her family's old house, she's unprepared for the surprise that awaits her. A hidden room — containing a human skeleton! How did such a thing get there? And why was the tiny room sealed up?
With the help of a diary found in the room, Dana learns her house was once a station on the Underground Railroad. The young woman whose remains Dana discovered was Lizbet Charles, a conductor and former slave. As the scene shifts between Dana's world and 1856, the story of the families that lived in the house unfolds. But as pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place, one haunting question remains — why did Lizbet Charles die?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Lois discovers a diary and a human skeleton in a hidden room, she learns that her house was a station on the Underground Railroad; scenes alternate between 1856 and the present. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
The discovery of a skeleton hidden in a secret room in the home Dana's family has recently bought triggers an historic search to identify the skeleton. The story alternates between the present and 1856. Dana and her friends recover an old diary that reveals some of the answers to their question. The skeleton is 130 years old and is that of a black woman, Lizbet Charles. Dana's "new" home may have served as a stop on the Underground Railway. The flash backs to the past help readers see how dangerous it was for the abolitionists and how determined slave holders were to retrieve their property. A nominee for the California Young Reader Medal.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Dana, 12, is helping her parents to restore an old house in Kansas as a bed-and-breakfast when she discovers a boarded-up room containing a human skeleton. With it, she finds the diary of Millicent Weaver, a Quaker and early resident of the house. She learns that the house was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and that runaway slaves were taken there by a former slave, Lizbet Charles. Of course, Miz Lizbet is Dana's skeleton, and the cause of her death at the age of 25 is finally revealed at the end of the novel. The story is told in alternating chapters, shifting between the present and 1856, when the events involving the long-dead young woman took place. The best developed character is young James Weaver, who struggles with his family's philosophy of nonviolence and with the secrets he must keep. The historical sections flow together well, revealing aspects of Miz Lizbet's life, which in some ways resembles Harriet Tubman's. The Weavers use traditional Quaker speech, liberally sprinkled with thee and thou. The modern-day scenes are somewhat less successful, and some of the conversations among the young people are a bit contrived. Still, the book will make a nice addition to historical fiction collections about pre-Civil War events.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.46(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.56(d)
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Lois Ruby is the author of several novels, including Steal Away Home, which was named an IRA Young Adults' Choice and a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC). Before she turned to writing, she was a young adult librarian for the Dallas Public Library. In her spare time she serves on the board of Inter-Faith Inn, a homeless shelter in Wichita, Kansas, and sometimes teaches minicourses to seventh and eighth graders. “The place I feel most comfortable,” she says, “is among teenagers, laughing.” The mother of three sons, she lives in Wichita with her husband, Thomas.

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Steal Away Home 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever........ Im in the 6th grade... And we readed it with the best teacher ever mr.Mccracken at north west middle school.........Best book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had so many descriptive real feelings but it is also fiction. It was an outstandingly great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first when I read this book in the 7th grade I couldn't understand it and the more I tried to understand it ,the more I thought how bored I was. So I put it down.I'm in the 8th grade now and the other day I picked it back up from my closet and I can't put the book down!I love it!But if you're not into the 'old days' or history, then I wouldn't suggest this book to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great book! I am in 5th grade and what i was learning in school was in this book. But this book is more exciting than school!! I think everything is more fun than school of course. I recamend every child to read Steal Away Home! You also have to read slowly because its a bit complicated but still great!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an awsome book for me to read! The pages are full of suspense, yet historical information. When Dana first discovers the skeleton and the diary, she is excited yet baffled by the fact that her new house holds mystery and secrets. While her parents turn her house into a bed-and-breakfast, she unfolds the mystery that is hidden in the walls of her house. This is an outstanding book and I enjoyed every word of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Steal Away Home
Lois Ruby
Simon & Schuster Kids Publishing Division

Steal Away Home is by Lois Ruby,Can you imagine finding a skeleton in a secret room? This is what Dana Shannon finds when she's peeling ugly orange musty rooster wall paper in the loft of the barn. Journey back and fourth between past and present when Dana finds the diary of Millicent Weaver. Join James and Miz Lizbet to find how Miz Lizbet died. As James grows to realize that his home is a underground railroad station he must choose between someone's life or his fathers trust. What will he choose?

Dana is a main character like James. She is a 12 year old red haired girl who has freckles, a sense of curiosity, and is almost never willing to give something up, especially the diary of Millicent. Dana's mother is round as earth but with long piano legs. James has brown hair and has little pleasure in Kansas. He plays the violin and trusts his dad. He also wants to become an architect. Miss Lizbet Charles is a negro conductor of the underground railroad! She was 23 when she died. Millicent Weaver is mother to James and Rebecca as well as a conductor. Dana's/James' father and Rebecca are supporting characters. All these characters intertwine to determine the destiny of Miz Lizbet. With the diary Dana can figure out what happened to Miz Lizbet

Steal Away Home by Lois Ruby is a must read for every child because this mystery will give children a sense of what was going on in the underground railroad. what will james dad do read and find out. I rate this book A 4/5 because it was easy to follow even though the characters switch. They finally find out how Miz Lizbet died, but if you want to find out read it for yourself the book. Do you dare to read it and find out how she died?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This historical fiction book is about a twelve-year-old girl whose name is Dana. She has just moved to an old house, on Tennessee Street. While ripping off paper in the upstairs barn she finds a skeleton in a small room. How did it get here? She immediately asks. Right beside the skeleton she finds a small, little, black diary. While reading the diary entries, the best scientists try to un- reveal the mysterious mystery. Was her house an Underground Railroad? Was they family who once lived here Quakers? Where they hiding a slave by the name Lizbet Charles? The biggest question of all, though, was how and why did Ms. Lizbet die? I really enjoyed reading this historical fiction book. It is very interesting yet suspenseful. I would recommend this book to almost everyone, especially historical fiction fans. It tells you that no matter how big or small you are always helpful in many ways. What made me pick this book up and read, was that I love reading about historical fiction, especially about slaves. How they survived following the North Star and while helping others reach freedom, as well. I thought that the book was not going to be about a girl finding out a huge mystery, but I guess it turned out to be the exact opposite of what I had thought. If I were to rate this book 1-5 I would rate it a 4, because the author could have added a little more detailed and made the book even a little longer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is neat. Every other chapter is today then the past... It is a great way to discover history. I strongly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Steal Away Home is a book about a 12 year old girl named Dana Shannon. When helping her her parents she finds a diary behind the wall of her house. I enjoyed this book because it goes back and forth from different timelines. It also has some history in it and I enjoy books like that. Also I like tht it's like reading to stories in one book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1)leo 2)jason 3)pipers knife and annebeths sheild 4)Ms dodds 5)ella the harpy 6)chrion 7)bionca and hazel My name is Riley i am the daughter of posiedon
Guest More than 1 year ago
My class was assigned to read this book as a bookreport book and my whole grade hated it!! It was soo incredibly boring and if you don't want to die of boredom please don't read it. Chapter one was interesting so I continued reading the book but after the first chapter I nearly died, as did the rest of my class. I seriously could not get through reading this book and I generally love reading. I definately would not recomend this book to anyone of any age. It was a waste of time and if you really want to read a good book read Harry Potter or Pride and Prejudice if you have not already.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that if I was younger this book would be harder to understand. You have to be able to go back and forth in different worlds and still understand it. I really didn't like that part, but I thought it was a good book. I enjoyed the characters very much especially James. I think that this book was a good example of historical fiction mixed with everyday life. I enjoyed reading this book, but I think that my recommended books are better for historical fiction.