Cover image for Running out of night
Title:
Running out of night
ISBN:
9780385744096
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
287 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
830 L Lexile
Summary:
"Journey of an abused twelve-year-old white girl and an escaped slave girl who run away together and form a bond of friendship while seeking freedom"--
Holds:

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

Fans of Elijah of Buxton, Trouble Don't Last, and Stealing Freedom will be drawn to this tale of the incredible journey of an abused twelve-year-old white girl and an escaped slave girl who run away together and form a bond of friendship while seeking freedom.

Every day is a misery for a nameless, motherless Southern girl who is treated cruelly by her pa and brothers. Her life changes forever when a runaway slave named Zenobia turns to her for help and shelter. Longing for her own freedom, the girl decides to run away, and she and Zenobia set off on a harrowing journey. Along the way, Zenobia names the girl Lark, after the bird, for her ability to mimic its song.

Running by night, hiding by day, the girls are pursued by Lark's pa and brothers and by ruthless slave catchers. Brightwell, another runaway slave, joins them, and the three follow secret signs to a stop on the Underground Railroad. When the hideout is raided and Zenobia and Brightwell are captured, Lark sets out alone to rescue her friends.


Author Notes

Sharon Lovejoy is an award winning, bestselling author and illustrator of non-fiction books about nature and gardening for children and adults. This is her debut novel. She divides her time between the Central Coast of California and Maine.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Inspired by her ancestors' letters, nonfiction author Lovejoy (The Little Green Island with a Little Red House) sets her first novel in antebellum Virginia as she follows two girls seeking their freedom-one from slavery, the other from her family. Ever since the death of her mother during childbirth, the narrator, now 12, has been abused and denied a name by her Pa (she later becomes known as Lark for her birdlike whistle). After Lark helps to hide Zenobia, a runaway slave (who Lark's Pa and brothers are hunting for), the girls decide to run off together. On the danger-filled trek east toward the Quaker village of Watertown, the girls take turns rescuing and aiding each other, meeting another runaway slave, a boy named Brightwell, as well as Auntie Theodate, who runs a safe house. Written in a believably rough-edged dialect (a glossary is included) and distinguished by lively descriptions and dialogue, Lovejoy's story offers a tense account of the perils facing those who sought freedom in the lead-up to the Civil War. Ages 9-12. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

In 1858, twelve-year-old Girl, white, lower-class, and abused, flees her Virginia home and travels toward Quaker Waterford with runaway slaves. As she befriends the slaves, first-person narrator Girl (renamed Lark) astutely differentiates between her own subjugation and that of black slaves. Unfortunately, several characters' near-miraculous recoveries from escape-related injuries undermine an otherwise head-on look at multiple forms of enslavement. Websites. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

When Zenobia, a young runaway, turns up on the porch of her father's northern Virginia cabin, a neglected and abused 12-year-old white girl takes the slave in and hides her until they can both flee. Zenobia becomes the first friend Lark ever had. Joined by a third young runaway, Brightwell, they make their way down Catoctin Creek toward Waterford, where they hope to find help in the Quaker community. They're captured but escape from slave hunters only to narrowly escape Lark's father. Even inside Auntie Theodate's house in Waterford they're not safe. Lark tells this suspenseful story in her own distinctive, believable voice, her strong dialect indicated through dropped endings and consistent errors in grammar no apostrophes get in the reader's way. Tiny chapter-opening sayings add atmosphere. What stands out most is the author's depiction of the rural Virginia setting. Lark's knowledge of the natural world leads to a satisfying, nonviolent resolution. An Underground Railroad story with a distinctive flavor.--Isaacs, Kathleen Copyright 2014 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-When Zenobia, a fugitive slave, creeps onto the porch of an 1858 Virginia home, the white girl inside schemes to prevent her abusive father from spotting the escapee. Denied a name and mistreated by her motherless family, the girl quickly concludes that her circumstances look little better than plucky Zenobia's and the two resolve to flee together. Neither one has a route planned; still, equipped with determination, good-luck charms, and a prodigious amount of plot-finagling by Lovejoy, they continually elude the passel of slave catchers and incensed family members chasing them. Narrator Lark (her new friend gifts her the name) and Zenobia, joined by an older teen slave, aim for the Quaker town of Waterford, where Lark believes folks will aid in their escape. Throughout the somewhat haltingly paced tribulations they encounter-the town proves vulnerable to the one-dimensional villains trailing the group and illness or injury strikes all three-Lark displays a charming resolve to survive as a trio, an attitude most audiences will find winning, if unlikely and possibly ill-advised.  The rural, mid-19th-century dialect, coupled with the author's interest in ethnobotany, roots the story deeply in the houses, forests, gardens, and even streambeds of antebellum Virginia; Lark's knowledge of plants allows for a satisfying, flora-induced revenge on one slave runner. Unfortunately, a contrived showdown tidies away the rest of the menacing trackers and the abrupt ending feels a mite cheery for the reality of a poor, newly orphaned girl and two fugitive slaves who haven't even made it out of Virginia. Some readers will suspend their disbelief, however, to enjoy the triumph of these intrepid souls.-Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Lively characterization and an intimate portrait of the natural world enrich this tale of an abused white girl in antebellum Virginia who shelters, then joins an enslaved runaway in search of freedom. Known only as "girl" to Pa and her brothers, the narrator leads a life that makes Cinderella's seem like a sinecure. Joining Zenobia, who's seen her own family separated and sold, isn't a hard call. Their journey, closely pursued by Pa and others determined to find the runaway and collect the large reward, is harrowingalso empowering. Life as a drudge has given Lark, as Zenobia names her, the practical skill set they'll need to evade thunderstorms, copperheads and slave hunters, among other antagonists. They find allies, too: other runaways and an abolitionist Quaker community. Lark's vivid and compelling, her dialect convincing. Lovejoy's sometimes-quirky knowledge of local history and extraordinary gift for writing about nature flavor the story, lending authenticity to Lark's closely observed world and informing the ingenious plot. One issue is troubling: Readers are invited throughout to compare the girls, to see Lark's pre-escape life as no better than slavery, an analog to it. While suggesting equivalency might help white readers identify with black characters, this device subtly downplays the enormous differences in their statuses in a society whose economy, laws and culture rested on those differences. Lush, detailed, total-immersion storytelling. (author note, glossary) (Historical fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Excerpts

Excerpts

ALONG THE BANK OF THE CATOCTIN CRICK IN VIRGINIA, 1858 Memories must be tended like a fire,  elstwise they'll die. Mama give her last breath just as I took my first. Although Pa and my big brothers never said they blamed me for her death, I always felt it achin inside me, like the rotten tooth our blacksmith pliered out of my mouth. Why else would a pa and his boys let a little girl come into the world and live for twelve years without givin her a name? My brothers and Pa always looked through me, as though I weren't but a thin sheet of mica between them and the world. Sometimes I had to step outside to see my shadow afore I knowed for sure that there were a real person inside me. Even though I never knowed Mama, I pieced her together in my head the way I made my patchwork rag doll, Hannah. After my grandpa passed and his stories about my mama quieted, I grabbed on to the threads of Pa's and my brothers' mentions of her, which weren't often, and needled them into my own life. Stop a sneeze before it comes to the table  or death will visit soon. "Girl!" Pa shouted, and slammed his fist on the table. "More scrapple. I tole you plenty of times, I don't want nothin useless on my farm. You'd best start earnin your keep." "My farm," he'd said, but as long as I were alive, it would always belong to my grandpa. Pa never worked the farm; he were born tired and raised lazy. I scrambled acrost the dark kitchen and scraped the leavins out of the iron skillet and onto his plate. Pa never looked up or thanked me. He leant low over his food, turned his spoon sideways, and pushed big chunks of greasy scrapple into his mouth. I hid my eyes behind a curtain of hair and looked for the best way out. Though I knowed every bit of this kitchen, from the ceilin beams hung with herbs to the wide pine floorboards, I needed a clear pathway, free of guns and legs. When Pa got into one of his moods, I had to get out of his way--and fast. I felt the hot flush move up my neck and flare into my cheeks the way it always does when I am mad. I didn't want Pa to feel my scairt or see my mad or I'd get kicked like one of the huntin hounds. I might not have worked out in the fields, but I weren't lazy. I were the one who cooked our food, kept up the cabin, done the washin, mended, and tended our garden and animals. I squared my chin and bit down on my tongue to keep it from waggin me into trouble again. My brothers and Pa left the table without a word; the door left open behind them. They walked out onto the porch, and Delia and Bathsheba, Grandpa's hounds, uncurled, shook, and loped after them. I heard a round of barkin and yippin, as though the hounds thought they was goin on a coon hunt. I stood at the window and watched till they passed my tomater patch and turned the corner at the barn; then I pulled Mama's quilt off my bed and took it outside. I shook it good, spread it out along the porch rail to air, and run my hand over its fineness. My mama had worked the straightest, tiniest stitches into her quilts, but my needlework on my old pieced Hannah doll, it looked like the jaggedy scar that runs up the side of my leg. I went back indoors and sank down onto the three-legged stool. The long cherrywood table, cut and milled on Grandpa's land and built by him, were strewn with food and grease. Grandpa, my mama's father, had been the onliest piece of softness in the family, a big, curly-headed Irishman who called me Girl like all the others, but when we was alone, my name were always Sweet Girl. And when we was alone and I cried over the things Pa and my brothers done to me, well, Grandpa always told me that bad beginnins are a sign of a good endin. I hoped I didn't have to wait too long for the good to come. Grandpa teached me what I knowed about the stars--turned them from strangers to friends. He showed me how to plant by the moon and what wild herbs were for pickin and eatin, healin or hurtin. He learnt me how to shoot a gun till I were near as good as him. By my eighth birthday, I could hit a corncob stuck on top of the fence clear acrost the barnyard. He knowed all the animals and how to talk to them and care for them. He give that charm over to me to carry on. Two years ago, on the day he died, I felt like most of my world, leastwise the good parts of it, went into the grave with him. I needed to pay Grandpa some respect. After I finished up the breakfast mess, I'd clean his table proper-like and work some of my beeswax into it to bring on a shine. I picked up my sand bucket and lye, but afore I began scrubbin the floors, I set down and leant on my elbows. "Mama," I said aloud, "I made it safe through this mornin without gettin into trouble." My stomach grumbled. I slid some of the leftovers off of Pa's and my brothers' plates and sopped up the juices and grease with a heavy piece of yesterday's corn bread. "Thanks, Mama," I said. "You remembered my birthday and made me a cake." I closed my eyes, gnawed into the corn bread, and smiled. It tasted like angel food. From outside, I heard somethin scuffle acrost the front porch. I jumped up and tucked the last of the dried-out bread into my pocket alongside some minty wintergreen leaves and the lucky buckeye Grandpa had always carried with him. Lord save me if Pa ever found me sittin down in the middle of the day. I blanked my face, smoothed my apron, and picked up a pile of dirty plates. The sound come again. I walked toward the door, then stopped midstride and listened. Catoctin Crick, so much a part of my life that I don't usually hear its noisesomeness, filled the cabin with its rain-fed roar. The floorboards thrummed under my bare feet as someone walked along the porch, then stopped near the Catalpa tree. I stood, plates askew, cocked my head like a hooty owl, listened. Then I shivered. My head prickled like it did this mornin when my brother Samuel sneezed at the table--a sure sign of death comin soon. Excerpted from Running Out of Night by Sharon Lovejoy All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.