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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 HimDuring 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 Desperate By The DayWhen 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 ThemThis 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 SounderSupports The Common Core State Standards


10 thoughts on “Sounder

  1. says:

    I had a father and a dog named Sounder Believe it or not, this was my first time reading this classic Newbery award winning book I m not sure why I didn t read it as a child I certainly read my fair share of animal books I have to wonder if I would have felt the same overwhelming sense of loneliness I felt reading this now I suspect I would have to some extent at least.The story revolves around a poor, African American family living in the Deep South They struggle to get by on sharecropping and hunting Issues of racism loom throughout Though the title of the book points to the dog as the main character, it really is much a coming of age story of the young, unnamed son of this loving, hard working family There are plenty of themes to explore here for both young and old readers loyalty, faith, and determination to name a few Aside from the dog of course, I also loved the boy s desire to learn to read He took solace in the stories his mother told him, and he yearned for books of his own The boy liked it when she told her stories They took away night loneliness The boy learns some tough life lessons some from his devoted mother and his loyal dog, and some on his own It s a story that will make you gulp a time or two, but there s also that glimmer of hope that makes this such an endearing and memorable little book 4.5 stars rounded up there was no price that could be put on Sounder s voice It filled up the night and made music as though the branches of all the trees were being pulled across silver strings


  2. says:

    A classic worthy to be classified as such Prose simple, strong and emotive This is how prose should always be Words that clutter and all that is unnecessary are removed.The book is quiet There is no fanfare Hardships are relentless yet they do not conquer the family, and in this there lies hope The tale looks at a poor, black sharecropper family in the South Events are told from the perspective of and through the thoughts of the family s eldest son He has had two years in school when the tale starts His greatest wish is to be able to read He would have a book with stories, then he wouldn t be lonely Something happens to the boy s father and their dog, Sounder, a bulldog and redbone coonhound mix, a stray that became a beloved family member Father, son and dog hunted possums and coons to fill out the meagre family diet Sounder had a job to fulfill he is not a coddled pet Years pass Time goes by, and we watch what happens.There is a strong tone of universality in the story This is achieved through the simplicity of the prose, through the fluid passage of time, through the absence on names None of the characters are given names, except the dog Names are not necessary As stated, all clutter is removed The book received the Newberry Medal in 1970 after being published the year before This is not a book for children it is a book for all ages The only reason why it might bee considered as such is because the story is told by the son.The characters come alive the mother the father and the son The mother hums and sings softly You gotta walk that lonesome valley, you gotta walk it by yourself, Ain t nobody else gonna walk it for you She tells her son There is patience, child, and waiting got to be The son comes to learn the lines of Michel de Montaigne Only the unwise think changed is dead This quote from Montaigne resonates as an underlying message of the book Proof again that it is a book for all ages.We understand who the mother is through her words and behavior The father we come to understand through his actions The son we come to understand by what he accomplishes.Avery Brooks reads the audiobook He reads it extremely well His narration I have given five stars He reads slowly, pausing where he should He quietly sings the lines the mother sings He intones women and men, the young and the old equally well He captures superbly the tone and speech of the poor black Southern sharecroppers drawn in the story.Don t put this book off It is superb.


  3. says:

    Dog story par excellance Of course, tears at the end becausedog story.


  4. says:

    Published in 1969, Sounder by William H Armstrong won the Newberry Medal in 1970, and was made into a movie in 1972 A family of black sharecroppers live a subsistence lifestyle, supplementing their meager diet with what the father can provide from hunting, possums, raccoons Lately, the raccoons have been scare Sounder, part redbone hound and part bulldog is their melodious hunting dog His calling bark echoes through the trees and all the neighbors know his unique sound It seems Sounder s body was created just for the music of his bark One morning the boy awakens to the smell of hambone boiling in a pot on the stove Only twice before in his life has the boy smelled hambone cooking For three days, there is good eating Then, three white men show up at the cabin, a sheriff and two deputies The boy s father is arrested for stealing the ham and Sounder, following after his master, is shot by one of the deputies.The theme of loneliness recurs throughout the novel The first time it is mentioned in the story, it s night loneliness that the boy suffers, which his mother tells him is part fear For the boy, his father s presence staves off fear The boy thinks that if he could read, that would also fight loneliness When the men take his father away, loneliness hangs ever heavier in the cabin The boy feels it like a physical presence The mother sings You gotta walk that lonesome valley, you gotta walk it by yourself, Ain t nobody else gonna walk it for you The cruel meanness of a jailer and a prison guard cause the boy physical and emotional pain This suffering is a sharp, pungent kind of loneliness, where he is cut off from the simple kindness of humanity Even the fact that the boy finds a part of Sounder s ear, where it had been shot off, speaks to me of isolation and loneliness Without the sounds that the ear brings us, we are in a silent, lonely place The melodious ringing call of Sounder s bark has disappeared He is still alive but seriously crippled, and no longer barks at all.My favorite part of the story is the elderly teacher with snow white hair who takes the boy home and helps him clean up his hurt hand The boy is carrying a book by the French philosopher, Montaigne, that he rescued from a trash barrel, when he meets the teacher The teacher talks to a plant that he had to reset, which of course, is an analogy for the boy s disturbed roots Oh, for kindness, to help settle our roots and let us sink into the good earth of friendships and into the rich connective soil of family and honest relationships Who knows what fruit might be borne A sad, heartbreaking story with the sweet golden dulcet tones of redemptive hope.


  5. says:

    This was required reading for me in 6th grade I remember it opening my eyes to racism and I was appalled that anyone would be treated differently because of the color of their skin Just after I d finished the book, I walked into the bathroom in the Miami airport and saw two black women standing against the wall To prove I wasn t racist, I stood between them until one leaned over and mentioned that it was a line Sometimes it s better to be blind.


  6. says:

    Certainly, I value the storyline of poor black sharecroppers it is an important narrative to tell I did not, however, enjoy the the ways in which Armstrong told this narrative.Except for the ending, I was bored by his stilted prose That is my primary issue with the story In addition, I was annoyed by the nameless characters in this story I do not buy the suggestion that their namelessness suggests that they represent many poor and rural African Americans during this time For me, their namelessness suggests that the author may not have really understood the subjects about which he wrote.


  7. says:

    I know that Armstrong wrote this as a parallel to the story of Ulysses dog, and that he intentionally left details ambiguous so that all readers could identify with the characters and setting, but I spent the entire book bothered by the way a white author portrayed an African American family none of whom were named Identity is important, and when a book is written so intimately but without names, it devalues for me the importance of the characters themselves I know Armstrong said he wrote the book to be universal, but it s not universal It s the story of a family discriminated against because of their race a family already devalued by their societal status, now further devalued by remaining nameless I also wonder how Armstrong, as a white author, can hope to accurately describe the thoughts of a boy who experiences racism He writes of hatred, but I was distracted by wondering how these descriptions could be accurate My peripheral central questions pulled me too far out of the story to enjoy even the rich descriptions and emotions.


  8. says:

    He had asked the teacher what it meant, and the teacher had said that if a flower blooms once, it goes on blooming somewhere forever It blooms on for whoever has seen it blooming It was not quite clear to the boy then, but it was now Years later, walking the earth as a man, it would all sweep back over him, again and again, like an echo on the wind Classic children s book and Newberry Award winner about a poor black sharecropper s family and their dog Sounder, which you will understand as a completely different story than the one you read in 5 th or 6 th grade if you revisit it after some 50 years A story much less about a dog than it is about the loves and losses one faces in life Read for March On The Southern Literary Trail 5 stars


  9. says:

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book, though the story itself doesn t strike a pleasant tone In most years I would quickly agreed that Sounder was the best choice for the Newbery Medal, but for 1970 I probably would have given the award to John D Fitzgerald s More Adventures of the Great Brain William H Armstrong writes with a quiet sincerity I have not seen exceeded Young readers are often told that no matter how they feel now, everything will be okay eventually in the long run their hurt and deprivation will be forgotten By contrast, William H Armstrong doesn t back away from the real horrors that this African American family living in the mountains must face in Sounder He doesn t gloss over situations that can t be fixed, that can never be made right again In describing the devastating, grotesque injuries suffered by the coon dog Sounder, and the unspeakable treatment inflicted upon the boy s father, Mr Armstrong acknowledges not only his characters raw, weeping wounds, but the similar feelings of his readers that sometimes, things will not be okay bad things happen that can never be reversed The power of Sounder is breathtaking This is a worthy novel by a great author.


  10. says:

    An emotional book with elements of love, loss, growth and hope.