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Sounder [Paperback]

William H Armstrong
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 7.25
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Book Description

April 5 1972

The Powerful Newbery Award-Winning Classic

A landmark in children's literature, winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal, and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South. The boy's father isa sharecropper, struggling to feed his family in hard times. Night after night, he and his great coon dog, Sounder, return to the cabin empty-handed. Then, one morning, almost like a miracle, a sweet-smelling ham is cooking in the family's kitchen. At last the family will have a good meal. But that night, an angry sheriff and his deputies come, and the boy's life will never be the same.

A landmark in children's literature, winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South.

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Sounder + The Borrowers: 50th Anniversary Edition
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Product Description

From Amazon

Sounder is no beauty. But as a coon dog, this loyal mongrel with his cavernous bark is unmatched. When the African American sharecropper who has raised Sounder from a pup is hauled off to jail for stealing a hog, his family must suffer their humiliation and crushing loss with no recourse. To make matters worse, in the fracas, Sounder is shot and disappears. The eventual return of a tattered and emaciated Sounder doesn't change the fact that the sharecropper's oldest son is forced to take on man's work to help support the family. His transition to adulthood is paved by the rocks and taunts hurled at him by convicts and guards as he searches for his father. But along this rough road he ultimately finds salvation as well.

William H. Armstrong's Newbery Award-winning novel quickly became a classic as a moving portrayal of resilience and hope in the face of profound human tragedy. Decades later, the bittersweet story still rings true, as strong-spirited individuals continue to battle the evil of prejudice. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"The power of the writing lies in its combination of subtlety and strength." -- H.

"The writing is simple, timeless and extraordinarily moving. An outstanding book." -- Commonweal

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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THE TALL MAN stood at the edge of the porch. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounder the Lab Dec 8 2003
By A Customer
The book sounder was a very good book for me to read. This book was a realistic fiction book to me. I liked it because it was exciting and you don't know what is going to happen next. I mean, this book could be real! It sounds like it is real to me. The book was going to be based on a ture story. When I bought the book it had a .com in the back that talked about the author and it was suppose to be based on his life. After he read the book over, he made a few changes and it still didn't sound right,and it is suppose to be a childrens book, and it's 362 pages long! So finally he made the story not based on his life, but the life of a fictional boy. Now the bookis only 116 pages long.
This book is like the book Shiloh because the stories are based on dogs and how they live and how they are treated. The two books are also based on two boys. This book tells how the boy lives( he doesn't have a name in the book.) The boy lived in a very poor family and his father was sent away. The boy took care of his family. He had many difficult situations. The boy and Sounder (his dog) missed their father terribly.
I recommednd this book because it makes me appreciate my life and how lucky I am.
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Loving devotion, decency and courage can come from an assortment of places-our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends-but one would not immediately suspect that those qualities would or could come from a scruffy, beat-up old coon dog named Sounder. It just goes to show that pluck and deep affection can soar up and out where we least expect it. In the heart of the old South there is a deep-rooted and pervasive, detrimental thinking that is the general make-up of the majority's attitude. It is a stark divide or code of ethics that one must live by in order to survive. Quite simply and horribly: white is good, black is bad. In the vortex of this dark thinking is a hard working, nameless black family (any black family), innocent people minding their own business and simply trying to survive. There are three things that help them rise above their abysmal poverty: 1) each other 2) stories imbued with biblical truths and 3) Sounder. However, as time elapses and weather conditions grow more harsh, the severity of starvation grips the family, eventually causing the father to commit a crime of despair: stealing food (sound Dickens-like?). Upon getting 'found' out, the misery only doubles when the father is led away (for many years) in chains like a psychopathic cut-throat killer and Sounder (like Old Yeller) is wounded in trying to help his master. But it is in the moment of arrest and thereafter that Sounder evolves from a simple hunting dog to a kind of guardian angel, drifting in and out of the picture, while the eldest son developes from a fatherless boy-searching desperately for him-into a determined young man eager to better himself and his situation. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Novel for All Ages April 20 2003
In the nearly 35 years since it was published, SOUNDER has lost none of its original power or impact. That's not only the mark of great children's literature, it's the mark of great writing at any level.
SOUNDER is the story of a poor African American family in the late 19th century south. Sounder, the family's hunting dog, is responsible for much of the family income: he finds and tracks game that the father can eat and sell. Problems arise when the local white sheriff and his men think the family has become a little too prosperous. An event then happens which becomes a turning point in the oldest boy's life. (The story is told with painful honesty from his point of view.)
Author Armstrong masterfully drops the reader into a different era, an era we would like to forget. It's not a comfortable time and it's not a comfortable story, but it is a powerful one. The story is a simple one, but Armstrong paints on a large canvas, full of description so vivid and true that we feel we're there, walking on the cold ground, smelling the countryside, and even feeling the wetness of the tears and blood.
I believe it's significant that Sounder is the only character named in the book. This is the boy's story, but it could be any boy. He represents a sort of "every man," or "every child," if you will. The boy learns several important lessons along the way, some of them coming from unlikely sources.
SOUNDER is one of those stories that not only entertain children, but teach them valuable lessons in human nature, relationships, and learning. A very, very important book for us all.
116 pages with illustrations
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Sounder Story March 27 2003
...Sounder is a book about a boy who has a dog named Sounder. This boy loves his dog so much, he wouldn't trade it for anything. Anyways, one day a white sheriff comes into the boy's house to take his dad to jail (prison). While the sheriff dragged the boy's dad to the wagon to take him away, Sounder runs after the wagon. The sheriff shot sounder until he fell to the ground while the wagon ran over him. Sounder fell dead. The boy was very sad and hurt. The boy buried him. Days passed, later the boy found that sounder was gone from the grave. The boy and his mom think Sounder is alive. Keep reading to see whether or not he's still dead or alive while other interesting things are going on."Suddenly something crashed against the fence in front of he boy's face. A jagged piece of iron tore open the skin and crushed the fingers of one of his hands against the fence." I didn't like that part because all the boy was doing was looking for his dad who was in jail. The sad thing about it was that after the white man threw the iron at him the man started laughing. The boy kept picturing himself throwing that piece of iron right back at the white man, but he didn't. He just walked away. I would want to throw it right back at him also. "There on the cabin porch, on three legs, stood the living skeleton of what had been a mighty coon hound. The tail began to wag and the hide made little ripples back and forth over the ribs." I like that part in the story because, I like the fact that Sounder was alive. I don't understand how Sounder could survive that injury. First, he got shot, and then he got ran-over by a wagon. Even through Sounder can walk only on three legs, has one ear a bloody shoulder, and he almost lost an eye, it's a good thing he is still alive. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful classic for children and adults!
I loved this book! It is sad but realistic and moving. It is also beautifully written. The characters don't have names but that makes them "everyman". Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2005
1.0 out of 5 stars Sounder
I think Sounder is a fairly boring book, and i should know i'm a book worm. i read about half the book then i started skimming, becaus it was so boring. Read more
Published on June 25 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Like a roller coaster - some parts are good - some parts suc
I had to read Sounder for a novel class. Judging by the cover I knew it will be a boring story and I was right. Read more
Published on April 9 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounder's Voice Is Heard
This book tells the story of a sharecropper's family and their dog, Sounder. The story happens in the 19th century American South. Read more
Published on March 26 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Sounder
I think this book is part good and part bad. It is a very touching story but it has too much inappropriate words in it like s)ex if you take off the sign and there is not enough... Read more
Published on March 22 2004 by Jennifer Yeung
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
This moving coming of age story will make you laugh and will make you cry. My 11 year old daughter loved it & still talks about it. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars O ya Sounder read it
I liked Sounder by William H. Henshaw. It is about a boy in the 1900's whose father is a sharecropper and he gets taken to jail because he steals meat from the big house. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars classic children's book
Sound won a Newberry. And because it is a pretty good book. It's a coming of age story for a young black male. It's about family, death, love, and god. Read more
Published on Dec 21 2003 by
4.0 out of 5 stars Kevin Smith
This is a great book for any young child to read. It tells the classic story about a boy and his dog and the things that they go through together. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003 by Kevin Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Books for the kids
I first read this book when I was twelve years old. It is pretty much about a boy and his dog at first. But it becomes much more than that. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003 by Kevin Smith
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