Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Trouble Don't Last” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Trouble Don't Last
Shelley Pearsall
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Trouble Don't Last

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  596 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Eleven-year-old Samuel was born as Master Hackler’s slave, and working the Kentucky farm is the only life he’s ever known—until one dark night in 1859, that is.With no warning, cranky old Harrison, a fellow slave, pulls Samuel from his bed and, together, they run.

The journey north seems much more frightening than Master Hackler ever was, and Samuel’s not sure what freedom

Library Binding, 239 pages
Published November 13th 2008 by Baker & Taylor, CATS (first published January 1st 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,182)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I grumbled through the first half of this book because I so did not want to read it. Shelley Pearsall is coming to visit our school, and so I had to read it. It just wasn't jiving with what my reading tastes were craving. But I kept going, and I am oh-so glad I did. I almost cried when I finished it about 5 minutes ago. This is a suspenseful and endearing book, one that is very deserving of its awards. I live in an Ohio town full of Underground Railroad history, and I cannot wait to have the aut ...more
Trouble Don’t Last
Shelley Pearsall
ISBN: 0-440-41811-9

Trouble Don’t Last is about the life of slaves and the journey of the Underground Railroad to freedom. This book is also about how when you are black you will always have a harder time because of your skin color, even in the free land. In this book an eleven year old slave named Samuel and Harrison an elderly slave ran away from their master’s home to Canada, where they will be free. Samuel has never been outside the master’s land, unti
Adam James
There's an art in choosing books to give children. There's an even more precise skill in determining books to offer in a book club workshop setting. Historical fiction can be a challenge for many readers - and pin-pointing appropriate content with a fast-paced plot can be an even bigger challenge for teachers.

All that being said, Trouble Don't Last by Shelley Pearsall nicely toes the line for what's appropriate for middle schoolers. The plot never drags as Harrison and Samuel are confronted with
Ruth Mika
Apr 27, 2008 Ruth Mika rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 3rd thru 6th
this is a must read! Samuel is a twelve year old slave boy. His mother was sold as wagers for a poker game when he was young. That left Lily, the kitchen slave, and Harrison, the old outside slave, left with his raising. His Master was cruel so one night Harrison decided to run and took Samuel with him. This story gives an account of how the Underground Railroad worked. Many people worked together but some even took advantage of the runaways by charging them money. They finally reached Canada th ...more
Personal reaction- I found this book to be very interesting and intriguing about the story of Samuel’s life. Sam was an average boy who was suddenly awakened by a new life and a new understanding of history. Sam was able to unveil a new life that he was never aware of before. This book can keep the reader interested and become a page turner from the first chapter. Curricular connection- this book can be used to connect to an educational social studies unit of the Underground Railroad. Most child ...more
Wayne S.
It is September of 1859, and eleven year old Samuel, who was born as Master Hackler’s slave, works on the Hackler farm at Blue Ash near Washington, KY. His momma, Hannah, was sold before he was even old enough to remember her, and he was raised by two old slaves named Harrison, who is about seventy, and Lilly. Then one dark night cranky old Harrison pulls Samuel from his bed, and together they run, heading for Chatham, Canada. The two experience many adventures and a lot of danger along the way ...more
Barbara Balke
Grades: 5-8; Ages: 11-14
Booklist starred (February 15, 2002 (Vol. 98, No. 12))
Gr. 5-10. Far from the romantic Underground Railroad stories about brave abolitionists and hide-and-seek adventure, this powerful historical novel is harsh and realistic, not only about the brutal effects of slavery that the runaways carry with them forever but also about the prejudice and hardship they encounter on their journey to freedom. First-novelist Pearsall is a museum historian in Ohio and her astonish
Lindsay D.
Samuel, at age eleven was born as a slave, and his mother sold when he was a child. Samuel is a slave on a Kentucky farm for Master Hackler, but one one summer night in 1859, it would all change. Samuel is grabbed in the middle of the night by another working slave, Harrison, and together, they run.
Samuel thought it might be a chance to gain his freedom, but he second guesses his thoughts. What if Master Hackler found them? What would he do? Will he survive? Running and hiding might not be en
Sep 10, 2010 Jill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to learn
Shelves: civil-war
Wow! This was a powerful book.

I read about this book at the end of All Shook Up, which was on the Caudill list this year. This was the author's first book, and I am not sure how she ended up writing All Shook Up after this one... it was cute, but this was just really well-done.

Trouble Don't Last is a book about the Underground Railroad and two runaway slaves who are trying to get to Canada. Looking back, I never really knew a lot about the Underground Railroad. I knew that slaves were trying to
On Samuel's journey north, he learns the many dangers of escape. He also learns a secret that changes his life.

"Know how I got my scars?" He held out his arms, pointing to all the scars. Some jagged stripes, some round like pox marks. "You see what those marks are?"
"Look." He held his arm closer. "They look like nail marks to you?"
My throat tightened.
"I was beaten by a board with a nail stuck through it," the man's voice went on, low and angry. "When I wasn't mu
I have recently become a HUGE fan of this author. She writes everything from amazing historical fiction to contemporary fiction, to stories based on current, real-life events. I first became aware of her when her book ALL OF THE ABOVE showed up on the Maud Hart Lovelace Award Nominee list for 2010-11 in Division II (5th -7th grade).

Her first novel was TROUBLE DON’T LAST, which I just finished. It tells the story of Samuel, an 11yr old boy born into slavery in Kentucky. He never knew his mother,
Shelli Gheen
Trouble Don't Last tells the story of eleven-year-old Sam and old Harrison, two slaves running away to Canada on the Underground Railroad. Along the way, they meet those who are involved in the Railroad because slavery is morally wrong and those who are there to earn money from the escaping slaves. Shelley Pearsall provides a good look at what life on the Underground Railroad was really like. She brings to life the dangers that each and every slave, and those who helped them, experienced.

Some t
This is one of my favorite books ever. I love the charcter and I love the writing so much.
(view spoiler)
Brayan Tobal
Trouble Don't Last is one of the beat book i've read yet. Every setting is interesting, it keeps you exited to know the next part. This book has inspired me to read more slavery books. What you'll like from this book is that you could picture every deatail as if you were in the book. Samuel is one of the character that keeps you to that point as if you should be there for him. i recamend this to everyone because you'll know what slaves sufferd while escaping.
Caden Coleman
This book is by one of my favorite authors of all time it was really good from Samuel to his slave owners the character development was ok not the best and the book got boring some times

But the world building was great and the characters felt real and the historical details made it feel so real really good


Pros:good world building
Realistic characters
Good historical details

Con:not great character development
And sometimes boring
Feb 20, 2008 Vicki rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5th grade up
Recommended to Vicki by: Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
A narrative story told by eleven-year-old Samuel who was born a slave and turns into a run-away in the middle of the night when old Harrison wakes him from his sleep, coaxes him to steal a pan and knife from the kitchen, then takes him and the "tow bag" away from the only home Samuel's ever know.
The story is a look at the underground railroad through fear's eyes. The journey is reminisent of the Exodus of the Israelites and their moanings of "O why did we ever leave the comfort of the master'
Keep your eye on the sun
See how she run.
Don't let her catch you with your work undone.
I'm a trouble, I'm a trouble.
Trouble don't last always. -- Virginia Slave Song

For years, people have been telling me I should read this work of historic fiction for children. It takes place a couple of years before the start of the Civil War, 1859 to be exact and follows the trek of runaway slaves, Samuel (a boy of 11) and and old man named Harrison on the Underground Railroad. Along the way, they meet interest
This was a well-written historical fiction novel about escaping from slavery on the Underground Railroad from a slave's perspective. Harrison, an old man, and Samuel, a young boy, make their way from Kentucky to Canada. Their journey is fraught with danger. The author portrays the feelings of the characters in a genuine way.
Great middle grade piece of historical fiction about two runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad. As an adult reader it just didn't delve deep enough, but for my 10 year old, this would be perfect.
Dan Fleming
I thought this was an incredible book. I really liked this story because it is about a young slave boy making boyish decisions and judgments, but learning to stand tall like a young man. It also lends light to: What's more important, your beliefs or your actions? I especially like the ambiguous ending where it is left to the readers to decide if the constable can or cannot read. Trouble Don’t Last is a narrative story told by eleven-year-old Samuel who was born a slave and turns into a run-away ...more
Kelly K
I read this book because the author is coming to visit my city soon.

It was an interesting story but there was something about it that didn't keep my interest as I was drawn in from the beginning.
Aug 10, 2012 Bridget rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes historical fiction{slavery}
This book definitely kept me interested and wanting to read it. This is her first book that was published in 2002 and Shelley Pearsall has since written some other books that I am hoping to get to at least a couple of them soon. I enjoyed the book much more than what I thought I would...It took me a little bit to finish the book because I was and am still unpacking and trying to find places for things in the new apartment {as of this post}...But if you enjoy historical fiction, especially around ...more
Cristin Williams
Great book! I really felt like I was with Harrison on the journey to freedom. However the ending was disappointing, it left things too open.
Miss Amanda
gr 5-8 230pgs

1859 Kentucky/Ohio Underground Railroad. One night, 11 year old Samuel is woken up by Harrison, a slave who along with another slave named Lilly, raised him after his mother was sold. Samuel is scared to be running away because he knows how dangerous it is, but he follows Harrison. Along the way, they are halped by various people.

A great story for someone interested in the Underground railroad. I especially liked how it showed how people, both white and free African Americans, and t
This is the book we are reading in school this month for book club plus
Great book! Can't wait for my kids to read it to see what they think.
Sonya Morris
I have missed my historical fiction! This book is about the life of an 11 year old slave escaping to the north with an old man. Their relationship is interesting, because they were tied together by the fact that they are from the same plantation, but they still demonstrate a familial responsibility to one another. The character develop is good, but my favorite part is the figurative language the author uses. It's truly amazing. I would say that the book may be better for a 9-12 year old audience ...more
Scott O'dell Award winner 2003

This is an excellent human interest story about traveling through the Underground Railroad. The reader learns the secrets write along with our young protagonist. With this very detailed and true to emotion text, we feel his fear, anxiety, and stress.

I love this “Child-like Innocence” view of traveling from slavery to freedom in Canada.

This is an excellent novel for middle school students to read when learning about the Underground Railroad. It would be nice if this
Great book for advanced 4th, probably fifth grade. Historical fiction story about a young boy who is dragged away from being a slave before he even has any idea what freedom means. Really shows how naive and innocent slave children could be, depending on their situation, and how, while their parents and elders may want freedom they may not be able to even conceptualize what slavery is versus freedom and what freedom would mean for them. Ending is a little too happy I think making it less realist ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 39 40 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule
  • Two Suns in the Sky
  • Worth
  • Charley Skedaddle
  • The Bomb
  • Stealing Freedom
  • Steal Away
  • The Art of Keeping Cool
  • Morning Girl
  • Under the Blood-Red Sun
  • Bull Run
  • Jip: His Story
  • The Game of Silence
  • The Fighting Ground
  • The River Between Us
  • Streams to the River, River to the Sea
  • Shades of Gray
  • The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad
I grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Cleveland called Parma where I used to write stories in a bedroom closet (aka my writer’s office). I tried to get my first novel – a 40 page handwritten story called “I am the Only One Left” - published when I was thirteen. As you can probably guess, it was rejected!

It took about twenty years before I finally had my first published book, Trouble Don’t Last (Kno
More about Shelley Pearsall...

Share This Book