top of page



Now available in audio book by Recorded Books. Order here.

Trouble Don't Last

Trouble Don’t Last

ISBN: 0-375-81490-6

220 pages

Publisher: Knopf

Setting: 1859

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.  The outcome of their courageous journey will leave readers breathless. 

Curriculum connections

Underground Railroad, Civil War.

 Recommended for Grades 4 to 8.


"Astonishing...a thrilling escape story." Starred review

Publishers Weekly

"Action-packed...gripping from beginning to end." Starred review

USA Today

"Powerful...a suspenseful, emotional story."




The Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

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

Booklist Editors’ Choice

New York Public Library Top 100

Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels  & Top Ten Historical Fiction


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),

Scott O'Dell Medal
Concrete Wall

Quick Classroom Idea


Post-It Note It: Collect and display the MANY examples of figurative language (metaphors and similes) found in Trouble Don't Last.


Buy the book




Barnes & Noble





John Parker House
John Parker "Riverman" House, Ripley, Ohio
bottom of page