Trouble Don’t Last

ISBN: 0-375-81490-6

220 pages

Publisher: Knopf

Setting: Kentucky, Ohio, and Canada in 1859

Curriculum connections: Underground Railroad, African-American History, Civil War.


Recommended for Grades 4 to 8.

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Winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.


Eleven-year-old Samuel was born as Master Hackler’s slave, and working on the Kentucky farm is the only life he’s ever known–until one dark night in 1859. Without warning, Samuel is pulled from his bed by Harrison, the oldest slave on Master’s farm. And together, they run.

Through the compelling words of Samuel, Trouble Don’t Last takes readers on the runaways’ emotional journey north.  As Samuel and Harrison move from one dangerous refuge to the next, they must learn to trust strangers—and each other.  But no one is exactly what they seem to be…and the outcome of the courageous journey will leave readers breathless.


Scott O'Dell Award


The Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Best Children’s Book of the Year/Outstanding Merit by Bank Street College of Education

Booklist Editors’ Choice, New York Public Library Top 100, Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels  & Top Ten Historical Fiction, and starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly and Booklist.


State Awards: Jefferson Cup Honor Book (Virginia), Ohioana Book Award (Ohio), Mark Twain Award nominee (Missouri), Sunshine State nominee (Florida), Rebecca Caudill Award nominee (llinois),

Reviews                                              IMG_1823


“A suspenseful, emotional story.” USA Today


“Gripping from beginning to end.”                                                           Publishers’ Weekly, starred


“Astonishing…a thrilling escape story...”                           Booklist, starred


“A gutsy depiction of the Underground Railroad, made all the more real with striking characters and raw drama.”       Family Fun Magazine


“One of the best Underground Railroad narratives in recent years.”  Kirkus Reviews


IMG_0312Quick Classroom Idea


Create a visual story map of Samuel and Harrison’s journey from slavery to freedom. Illustrate specific details from the places they hide and the transportation they use along the way.