Item description for Sounder by William H. Armstrong...
Overview Angry and humiliated when his sharecropper father is jailed for stealing food for his family, a young black boy grows in courage and understanding by learning to read and through his relationship with his devoted dog Sounder.
A timeless classic, winner of the John Newberry Medal, and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder is a novel that tells of the courage and love that bind a black family together despite the extreme prejudice and inhumanity it faces in the Deep South.
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Studio: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.05" Width: 5.35" Height: 0.27" Weight: 0.19 lbs.
Release Date May 15, 2001
Publisher Harper Perennial Modern Classics
ISBN 0060935480 ISBN13 9780060935481 UPC 099455007009
Availability 0 units.
More About William H. Armstrong
William H. Armstrong grew up in Lexington, Virginia. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and did graduate work at the University of Virginia. He taught ancient history and study techniques at the Kent School for fifty-two years. Author of more than a dozen books for adults and children, he won the John Newbery Medal for Sounder in 1970 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 1986.
The novel Sounder, by William Armstrong, depicts a story about a young boy, his family and his dog. The story is set in the early 19th century and most of the events occur in and around the families meager cabin house. The novel opens with a scene depicting the boy (whose name remains unknown throughout the novel) and his father, a struggling sharecropper. The boy's attachment to his family and love for his dog is clear in the early lines of the story. Soon the families struggle to earn money and survive leads the father to steal a ham in a desperate attempt to put food on the table. The next morning, the police arrest the father. As he is taken away, the boy attempts to hold onto the dog, who is snarling and lunging at the police. As night falls, one of the police officers shoots the dog. He lies, seemingly dead, in the road as the mother quickly ushers her young children inside. The story continues as the boy searches desperately for his dog. His hope that the dog survived the gunshot turns sour as weeks go by. One day, the dog miraculously reappears, with a wounded shoulder and missing eye. The boy and his mother are astonished to see the dog still alive, and take him back into their home. The family soon learns about the fate of the father. After being locked up in the town prison, he has been released to do hard labor. The boy searches for his father, sometimes walking miles only to find a long line of laboring men he cannot recognize. After one visit, he stumbles upon a school and is taken in by the head teacher. The boy has a book with him and the teacher reads him part of the story. After this encounter, the boy decides to go away to school in the winters and stay back to help with the harvest in the summers. The boy continued at the school for several years. One summer when he was home, Sounder came running up to the house, barking wildly. The father followed shortly behind, dragging his leg which had been destroyed when dynamite exploded in a prison quarry. Eventually, his broken body let go, and the father dies. Sounder dies shortly after his master.
Negative aspects: While Sounder is an engaging novel, some of the language used is simple and may not challenge all students in the upper grades. The vocabulary is not overly difficult, yet might be on the correct level for some students. Lastly, because Sounder was written in 1969 and takes place in a old, country setting, students may have difficulty relating to the characters and making connections to their own lives. However, the themes of family, loss of a loved one (even a pet) and courage will engage students in the story.
I would recommend Sounder to any middle school teacher. The novel is interesting, engaging and generally easy to read. It would be perfect to implement in literature circles or as a whole-class novel, as students could read chapters on their own or at home.
One of the best dog books I've ever read Apr 24, 2008
Sounder is one of the best dog books I've ever read, even though there are some ups and downs in the plot. Comparing it to Shiloh and Because of Winn-Dixie, I realized sometimes ups and downs are good things. For example, in Shiloh it was always tense, and always what I call "up". In Sounder, though, there was calm "down" and tense "up". It is amazing how the author captures the reader's interest in a short story, whereas some longer books don't even get close to keeping the reader's nose in the book.
There were some slow parts, but on the other hand, it was a very good story, told very descriptively and in complete detail. The story starts out calmly, describing Sounder, a racoon or "coon" dog as the best, fastest, loudest and calmest of them all. The boy, his father a sharecropper, really wants to go hunting. The father doesn't allow him because it is cold and windy that night. The father says he won't have a good hunt anyway since the wind will blow away any animal scent. Later, the father steals a ham because his family is hungry and so poor. The father gets arrested for the theft, and the sheriff shoots Sounder in the process. Sounder crawls under the porch, and then isn't seen for a while. Finally, Sounder turns up, bone weary. The boy works in fields to earn money. The boy's father gets sent to many other jails across the state, so the boy sets out to find him. One day, the boy's father comes home. One whole side of him is distorted. That is because he got trapped beneath limestone while working in a prison quarry. Sounder is so happy to see his long-lost master that he lovingly welcomes him with a long bark: something he hadn't done in weeks. It was a very heartbreaking story.
A disappointing Newberry Winner Oct 30, 2007
The book "Sounder" was very depressing and at times annoying. It has no main characters besides Sounder and the boy. There are sad things in the story like when the boy's dad dies and a month later Sounder dies. The police were not nice either to the visitors. Once the boy went to the police to see his dad. His mom baked a cake to bring and the polic threw it on the ground and told him to pick it up. A guard threw a piece of metal and injured the boy's hand too. The only nice thing in the story is a school teacher that teaches the boy how to read and write. The ending left me sad and wishing for a happier story. However, all stories don't have to have a happy ending, if you're looking for a sad and realistic book this could be for you.
Sad but so sweet Apr 16, 2007
Sounder, the dog, stole my heart, I cried so much! But it was defiantly a good book!People are saying it isn't a good book only because they don't give other people names and that the story was sad, but they didn't give any names becasuue the WHOLE story was on Sounder. Even though the story is sad, trust me you'll love reading it. It will probably make any animal lover cry!And once you get into the book, you'll want to know more and more, and you won't put the book down. NOTE: I HATE READING AND YET I LOOOOOVE THIS BOOK< AND THAT IS VERY RARE!!!
Sounder, not a good book Apr 12, 2007
Sounder was not a good book. William Armstrong did not explain anything clearly. For example, nobody had names except for the dog. They were instead called the " The Man" or "The Mother." Also, everyone in the book was gloomy and sad and there was nothing good ever happening in the book. Another reason I didn't like this book was because the characters had no reaction. When something big would happen in the book they would just move on with life. This story is about a poor boy and his family. His father is a sharecropper who struggles to feed his family. Every night the boys father and their great coon dog hunting but they've been getting nothing lately. One day, amazingly, there is a ham roasting on the stove. That day the boy's father is taken to jail and sounder goes missing. Soon enough the father is taken to jail and Sounder is still missing. If you want to find out why sounder went away you have to read the book. Though I didn't like this book you might. If you love gloomy and sad books this is just for you.