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Sounder (Trophy Book) [Paperback]

By William H. Armstrong (Author) & James Barkley (Illustrator)
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Item description for Sounder (Trophy Book) by William H. Armstrong & James Barkley...

A young boy's world is shattered when his father, a poor black sharecropper, is jailed for stealing food for his family.

Publishers Description

Set in the Deep South, this Newbery Medal-winning novel tells the story of the great coon dog, Sounder, and the poor sharecroppers who own him.

During the difficult years of the nineteenth century South, an African-American boy and his poor family rarely have enough to eat. Each night, the boy's father takes their dog, Sounder, out to look for food and the man grows more desperate by the day.

When food suddenly appears on the table one morning, it seems like a blessing. But the sheriff and his deputies are not far behind. The ever-loyal Sounder remains determined to help the family he loves as hard times bear down on them.

This classic novel shows the courage, love, and faith that bind an African-American family together despite the racism and inhumanity they face. Readers who enjoy timeless dog stories such as Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows will find much to love in Sounder.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Citations And Professional Reviews
Sounder (Trophy Book) by William H. Armstrong & James Barkley has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 931
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2005 page 561
  • Essence - 03/01/2007 page 76
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 623
  • Wilson Middle/Junior Hi Catalo - 01/01/2009 page 771

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperCollins
Pages   116
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.4" Width: 5" Height: 0.3"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 9, 1995
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
Age  9-14
Series  Trophy Book  
ISBN  0064400204  
ISBN13  9780064400206  

Availability  0 units.

More About William H. Armstrong & James Barkley

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

William H. Armstrong has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Perennial Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Animals > Dogs > Fiction
2Books > Subjects > Children > History & Historical Fiction > United States > Fiction > 1800s
3Books > Subjects > Children > Literature > Classics by Age > General
4Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Family Life > General
5Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Multicultural Stories > African-American
6Books > Subjects > Children > Religions > Fiction > Fiction
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Action & Adventure
8Books > Subjects > Teens > History & Historical Fiction > Historical Fiction
9Books > Subjects > Teens > Literature & Fiction > Classics

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Reviews - What do customers think about Sounder?

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.

Souder Stinks  Apr 12, 2007
Sounder for me was a very disappointing and depressing book. It was not very descriptive, but it was very sad. For example, a part of the book is "The piece of iron lay on the inside of the fence. Drops of blood from his fingers dripped down the fence, wire by wire." You need to be in the mood for a sad story in order to read this book.

The people don't show any emotions. If anything bad happens, they don't try to fix it. If something good happens, which is rare, they act like they couldn't care less.


The whole thing was very tragic and had an abrupt ending that had people wanting to know more, like about what happens to the boy when he grows up. The whole story was a fiasco and I would urge you to avoid reading this book.
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.

Perseverance in Difficult Times  Apr 2, 2007
Sometimes, we strive to achieve our goals and reach a point where exhaustion and opposition overwhelm us. We feel too tired to go on. However, if our want to succeed and gain pushes us onward, we persevere. Perseverance eventually brings success. In Sounder, by William H. Armstrong, each character reaches a point of despair and depletion. By showing perseverance, the characters, sooner or later, get through their situation successfully.

As a hard worker in the time subsequent to slavery, the boy in Sounder endured a lonely, fearful, and stressful life. He had to persevere because his family needed money. Their source of meat was scarce, and the boy's family lacked money to buy meat or anything else.

The father, therefore, stole a ham, for he had no other way to feed his family. A sheriff arrested the boy's father and shot his dog, Sounder, to prevent trouble. The shot wounded the dog so badly that he could no longer bark in the way that gave him his name.

Sounder was named after his unusual, sweet bark. It seemed to stretch out and roll in just the right way so that a listener would think someone was singing.

Now the boy had to fend for himself, his mother, younger siblings, and half-dead dog by working in the field and doing chores for white people to gain money.

The boy's father did not come home for a long time, so the boy went after him. After each search, the boy returned unsuccessful but endured and kept on.

The boy journeyed long and far to the prison farms, the jailhouse, and rock quarries to see his father, but he did not find him. Whenever he passed a white person's house, he thought he could feel their eyes staring at him through the curtains. Once, a white man threw a piece of iron at him. This was a blessing, though, because when the boy went to the schoolhouse to wash the cut the iron had caused, he met the schoolteacher who eventually taught him to read.

By the time the father finally returned, the boy was reading and had supported the family pretty well. The father had changed, however. His body had been damaged. He and Sounder had been hurt by the affects of slavery: racism and a system to keep blacks ignorant, poor, and dependant. However, their spirits of perseverance were not destroyed and the boy had hope of a better future because of his perseverance and education.

Through each of William H. Armstrong's characters, we can easily see that perseverance helps us overcome hardships. With perseverance, we can get past our limits into the world beyond.

a mut of a dog  Mar 30, 2007
I think this book is a good book for the type of person that has an interest in "tear jerker" stories. It is the perfect snow daybook. The way the author writes makes you feel as if you are really there. He uses great imagery and descriptive words. Personally I am a little bit old for this book but it is still is a great story. It has an easy plot to follow and a great story line. This is the kind that you need to really read in between the lines. If you do not understand a sentence read it over and over and over again until you do! The reason is, is because one thing can throw you off! This is an awesome book and I am a big fan of this author. This is a book that teaches you great morals, but I am not going to tell you them! If you want to know what the morals are you will have to read to find out!

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