Sounder by William H ArmstrongSounder by William H Armstrong


byWilliam H ArmstrongIllustratorJames Barkley

Paperback | December 24, 2002

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 43 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


This powerful Newbery-winning classic tells the story of the great coon dog Sounder and his family.

An African American boy and his family rarely have enough to eat. Each night, the boy's father takes their dog, Sounder, out to look for food. The man grows more desperate by the day.

When 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.

This classic novel shows the courage, love, and faith that bind a family together despite the racism and inhumanity they face in the nineteenth-century deep South.

Readers who enjoy timeless dog stories such as Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows will find much to love in Sounder, even as they read through tears at times.

William H. Armstrong grew up in Lexington, Virginia. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and did graduate work at the University of Virginia. He taught ancient history and study techniques at the Kent School for fifty-two years. Author of more than a dozen books for adults and children, he won the John Newbery Medal for Sounder in...
Title:SounderFormat:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 0.38 inPublished:December 24, 2002Publisher:HarperCollins

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0064400204

ISBN - 13:9780064400206

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12


Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Love This Story! This book was well-written and absolutely moving, I adored every second of it.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from extremely well-written, powerful story Sounder is a coon dog which lives with a poor, African-American family of sharecroppers in the post-Civil War South. The family consists of a father, a mother, an older son, and several younger children. The father struggles to feed his family in hard times. After working hard in the fields all day, he and Sounder go out hunting night after night but come home empty-handed. Then one morning, a ham is cooking in the cabin’s kitchen. However, that evening, an angry sheriff and his deputies come to arrest the father for stealing food and take him away to jail. When Sounder tries to go along with his master, he is shot in the face and crawls away, whether to heal or to die no one knows. After the trial, the father is sent away to work in the chain gangs. Then the waiting begins for the boy, his mother, and the family—waiting for word from his father, waiting to hear Sounder’s familiar bark, always waiting. After a while, the boy, angry and humiliated, begins going out all over the countryside to look for his father wherever he hears that there is a chain gang at work, returning home frequently to take his father’s place in the fields. His search continues for a number of years. Along the way he encounters a lot of abuse from guards and others, but he also meets an elderly schoolteacher who helps him to learn how to read. But will he ever find his father? And what will happen to Sounder? This extremely well-written, powerful story, which won the Newbery Medal in 1970, clearly portrays the hopelessness of black sharecroppers during the late nineteenth century. Everything in the novel is understated, allowing the emotion to speak for itself. In addition to the history lessons on sharecropper life in the South, the book illustrates responsibility, faithfulness to family, and hard work. Even though she cannot read, the mother tells Bible stories to the children, and, encouraged by hearing about Joseph, David, and others, they patiently endure. William Howard Armstrong (1911-1999) is the author of some twenty other books, including Sour Land, a companion novel to Sounder. He based Sounder on stories told to him by an elderly African-American teacher who worked for his father.
Date published: 2012-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sounder I really liked this book because it shows how black people had to live like in those days.This book is one of the best books i have read about black people because ,it gives u an excellent description of how black people lived like. So i am saying that u should read this book if u ould like 2 Know how black people had to live like in those days. If u would like 2 know about this book email me.
Date published: 2000-03-17

From Our Editors

The idea of slavery is difficult to understand in relation to the world in which we now live. In the 19th-century American South, however, it was once an inescapable way of life. William Armstrong’s Sounder centres on the death of a devoted dog and the trials of his black master, leaving the man's son with a harsh but hopeful legacy of stoicism and independence.

Editorial Reviews

“…written with quiet strength and taut with tragedy.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)