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In two parallel stories, a Quaker family in Kansas in the late 1850s operates a station on the Underground Railroad, while almost 150 years later twelve-year-old Dana moves into the same house and finds the skeleton of a black woman who helped the Quakers.
|1||Tear Down the Wall||1|
|4||The Wakarusa War||22|
|5||Night of the Living Bones||30|
|6||The Free-State Hotel||35|
|7||No Nancy Drews||41|
|8||You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!||46|
|9||Edmund Wolcott's Castle||52|
|11||The Sack of Lawrence||65|
|12||Follow the Drinking Gourd||72|
|14||Three First Names||82|
|16||They Never Looked Back||92|
|17||The View from Lizbet's Cot||98|
|18||Like a Real Son||101|
|24||I'm Melting, I'm Melting!||142|
|28||The Return of Marshal Fain||168|
|29||Up to the Tower||174|
|31||Written in Stone||190|
About the Book
When Dana Shannon discovers a full skeleton, sealed away in a little hidden room in the nineteenth century house her family is restoring, she stumbles onto a mystery that draws her deep into the past. The old bones date back to just before the Civil War, when pro- and anti-slavery factions transformed the territory of Kansas into the battleground known as Bleeding Kansas. Told in chapters that alternate between Dana's detective work in the 1990s and the story of James Weaver and his anti-slavery Quaker family in 1856, Steal Away Home interweaves a contemporary suspense story with an engrossing historical drama. Chosen a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, "this skillfully rendered book," as The Horn Book observed, "will appeal to a wide audience and serve beautifully for a variety of teaching purposes."
Projects and Research
About the Author
Lois Ruby began working on Steal Away Home, her fifth novel for young readers, when a mental image of a skeleton, sealed away behind a wall, began to haunt her thoughts. Once she had decided that the skeleton belonged to a runaway slave, Ms. Ruby started researching the history of Kansas just before the Civil War. She was soon hooked, and the story began to pour out at a furious pace. A former young-adult librarian, Ms. Ruby now spends most of her time writing and leading creative-writing workshops. She and her husband live in Wichita, Kansas, and are the parents of three grown sons.
Steal Away Home
by Lois Ruby
Steal Away Home
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
2. Dana's friend Ahn is a refugee from Vietnam, a country that suffered through an especially long and devastating war. Compare Alm's twentieth-century experience to those of Lizbet Charles's back in the nineteenth-century. What are the important similarities? What are the important differences?
3. As Dana explains it, her parents never tell her what to do. They lay out her choices, let her know what they think she should do, and then leave it to her to decide. Did James Weaver's parents have a similar philosophy? What are the pros and cons of being allowed to make your own decisions?
4. Talking about her husband, Mrs. Weaver tells her son, "Pa and I are of the same mind on this slavery business. He's doing it his way, I'm doing it mine." What is Mr. Weaver's way of fighting slavery? What is Mrs. Weaver's? Which approach would you have taken?
5. According to James's grandfather, "...a Quaker never raises his hand in wrath against another man...Neither does he roll over and play dead, son. Time comes, thee will know what to do." When does James have to decide how to act on his beliefs? What does he do? Why?
6. Despite James's concern that his mother was breaking the law once again, Mrs. Weaver agrees to teach Lizbet to read and write. Why do you think it was illegal to teach basic literacy skills to slaves? What threat did educated slaves pose to their owners?
7. Solomon Jeffrey, a free black man, could have used forceagainst the slave trader who wanted to illegally capture him, but he didn't. Why? Would you have shown the same restraint if you were in Solomon's predicament?
8. Can laws be unjust? In the nineteenth century, abolitionists believed that laws permitting slavery were wrong. But what about today? Are there any current laws that you think should be overturned?
Posted June 7, 2008
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
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Steal Away Home <BR/>Lois Ruby <BR/>Simon & Schuster Kids Publishing Division<BR/>Mystery<BR/><BR/> 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?<BR/> <BR/> 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<BR/><BR/> 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?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 22, 2008
Posted April 29, 2007
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2006
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!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 22, 2005
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 21, 2002
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 18, 2001
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 26, 2001
Posted April 24, 2000
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 1999
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.