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The Night Journey

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  235 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Rachel dreads the afternoons she has to spend with her great- grandmother, Nana Sashie-until Sashie begins to reminisce about her childhood in Russia and Rachel finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of memories. As the events and characters of Sashie's past come to life, Rachel discovers a distant country and time, a time when Jews were forced to serve i ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 17th 2005 by Puffin Books (first published September 1st 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 527)
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Wandering Librarians
Rachel isn't supposed to ask her great-grandmother, Nana Sashie, about her past. Her parents say it upsets her. But Nana Sashie seems to want to tell Rachel her story. Rachel begins sneaking up to Nana Sashie's room whenever she can, and listens in amazement to Nana Sashie's story of her family's escape from tsarist Russia.

There are so many books about the Holocaust, and those are very important books. There are fewer books about tsarist Russia, and how Jews were treated during this time period.
...more
Emily Von pfahl
Mar 02, 2016 Emily Von pfahl rated it really liked it
Rachel's great grandmother, Nana Sashie, tells her the story of how she and her family escaped from Russia and the Tsar's pogroms. Nana Sashie's story is told piece by piece as Rachel goes to visit her, breaking up the exciting narrative of that journey with the present day story line showing the evolution of their relationship. The author does a great job of presenting a horrible situation in a way that isn't totally traumatizing. It is moving without being a rip your heart out sort of book. Ve ...more
Elizabeth
Jul 12, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Night Journey was published in 1983 and became a National Jewish Book Award winner. Kathryn Lasky drew upon the experiences of her Aunt Ann In this historical fiction novel. Tsar Nicholas II ruled Russia during the early years of 1900s. His government's persecution of the Jewish people forced the Russian Jews to undertake daring actions to save their loved ones. The main characters in this novel cross two generations. Rache discover that her very elderly Nana Sashie, great grandma, is thrilled t ...more
Lisa
Feb 14, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is a unique story about a thirteen year old girl's discovery of her great-grandmother's past, which involves a daring escape from Tsarist Russia around the turn of the twentieth century. The girl and her great-grandmother are both Jewish and so the story is about how a porgrom forces the family to leave to save their lives. It is full of great drama and suspense and period detail. As a mother, I was not terribly fond of the "attitude" of the main character, Rachel, toward adults but I recog ...more
Kendra
Jul 28, 2013 Kendra rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
My sons and I have read Lasky's "Marven of the Great North Woods" countless times - it is a fun read-aloud and includes a story element that we love: a young protagonist who works hard and has great responsibility and independence. The heroine in this story is, like Marven, a Jewish immigrant from Russia. This story is essentially the tale of the escape of the girl and her family from Tsarist Russia in the very beginning of the 1900's, as told to her great-granddaughter, Rache. It is well told, ...more
Kristin
Jul 11, 2010 Kristin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Kathryn Lasky's young adult novel The Night Journey is loosely based on her Aunt Ann's own escape from Tsarist Russia. Much like the during the Holocaust, during this time Jews were mistreated and murdered during pogroms.


In the fictional account, Rachel spends time with her aged great-grandmother, Nana Sashie. Rachel dreads this time. However, Nana Sashie begins to tell Rachel tales of her childhood in Russia and Rachel is suddenly hooked! However, Rachel's parents believe that reliving the past
...more
Christy
Jul 26, 2012 Christy rated it liked it
Puffin Books
Kathryn Lasky
Trina Schart Hyman
National Jewish Book Award
150 pages
Historical Fiction

Upon completion of this book, I'm left with questions. I knew there was a connection between Sashie and the violin player Reuven Bloom, but I wonder how they reconnected since she was leaving Russia and they met so briefly. The book had mentioned that the family lived in Minnesota, but how did Sashie and her family end up in the United States. I read through the finer print at the beginning and the en
...more
Krissy
Apr 20, 2013 Krissy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teachers, Home Educating Parents, History readers
I read this book with my 10 year old son for Holocaust Remembrance week although this particular book is not set for the Holocaust I thought this book was a wonderful book to add to our reading during that week because the main idea of the book is about a Jewish family in 1900 that is living a nightmare in Russia under the control of Nicholas the Second a Czar, that either kills Jewish people or makes them serve in the Russian Army to be killed.

The book started extremely slow for both myself and
...more
Beth
Jun 29, 2016 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: 5th-grade, 6th-grade
I have to say that I was disappointed with this book. I feel like it will confuse kids who don't know anything about Jewish people. If a child hasn't gone to church or Sunday school, he or she will have a very hard time understanding the story of Esther. When reading the book, I felt that it needed a glossary, a more detailed author's note, and a picture of a samovar. They other thing I feel that was missing was how badly things really were for the Jews. The family almost seemed to be a middle c ...more
Carolyn Tye
Jan 21, 2016 Carolyn Tye rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book with some criticisms. First, for a children's book, I was surprised that there was some swearing. The swearing detracted from the book. Also, sometimes the parents were referred to by their first nsmes. That was distracting. However, bottom line, I'm assigning to my children to read because it beautifully describes an important part of human history.
Crabbygirl
Feb 12, 2015 Crabbygirl rated it it was ok
read alongside my son for SOTW. the story is told in tandem between superficial present day for rache (boring!), and 1900s russia for her great great grandmother (much more interesting).
it's a very cultural jewish book - lots of identity and worry/shock over losing that identity - and very little religious underpinning.

you learn what a samovar and a pogrom is. not much else.
Marcie
Jan 02, 2015 Marcie rated it it was amazing
Unexpectedly enjoyable.
Because it is written for older children, I wasn't expecting much. But Kathryn Lasky's prose is lyrical, deep, and filled with vivid imagery. And based on her great(?)-grandmother's experiences escaping the Russian pogroms of Jewish villages, the story is tender, yet intense with vibrant characters. It is, understandably, award winning writing.
Books Kids Like
Oct 06, 2013 Books Kids Like rated it really liked it
Shelves: lasky-kathryn
Rachel's Great-Nana Sashie describes herself as “old old.” That is certainly the way that Rachel sees her. One day, Nana Sashie starts talking about her childhood. Knowing that the subject is forbidden, Rachel tries to stop her. Nana won't be stopped, and, after a while, Rachel seeks every opportunity to visit Nana so she can hear her story. Nana Sashie was born in Nikolayev, Russia. As Jews, her family was an enemy to Tsar Nicholas. Terrible pogroms were being carried out throughout Russia dest ...more
Michelle J
Aug 27, 2014 Michelle J rated it really liked it
Great book. Please young adults, talk to your elders in the family and ask questions about family history or herstory because if you don't NOW then the authentic stories will evaporate and you lost your chance to understanding yourself and from where you came from.
Shacoria
I didn't expect much from this book. Since it's a book meant for children and young adults about the holocaust I expected to be bored with the same old information about Nazis and concentration camps that I've heard since elementary school. This book, however, is a little different. The first big difference is that this book is about Russian Jews and it's rare that you hear about them at all. There is no mention of Hitler in this book at all. I liked that. The book focused more on the Jewish fam ...more
Lora
Apr 28, 2008 Lora rated it it was amazing
Rachel's parents underestimate both her and Nana Sashie when they try to keep her from stirring up the old woman's memories. The bond they forge strenghtens them both and mystifies the generations in between. Fortunately, the two are stubborn enough to continue despite the opposition and succeed in preserving a fascinating and important piece of the family's history.

"Nana Sashie dared to take me on a detour, and in doing so she circled back, and I too.... It was time out of line, but time laced
...more
Tosca Wijns-Van Eeden
It is more the story from the grandmother telling her granddaughter about how a Jewish family escapes Russia in the 1900's. It is a lovely story for a younger group of readers.
Christine
Jun 19, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing
6th grade and up just because it does talk about seeing charred bodies. Reading level is more like 4th, but content is more mature.
Miss Amanda
Jul 14, 2013 Miss Amanda rated it really liked it
gr 6-8 149 pgs


present day/1900 Russia. Each day, Rachel must keep her great grandmother Sashie company, but with the very long list of things her grandmother and parents have told her she can't do with her great grandmother, Rachel finds the visits boring. Then, Rachel just can't contain her curiousity she asks great grandmother Sashie about Russia and how she and her family escaped. As Rachel gets caught up in Sashie's family's daring escape, her visits can't come soon enough.

Great story which
...more
Emily
Jun 13, 2015 Emily rated it did not like it
I very rarely begin a book and don't complete it. I just COULD NOT bring myself to finish this one. I know it is a young adult novel. But it was SO simplistic in language, and often quite negative in tone. As a teacher, I would NOT recommend this book to my students when studying the Holocaust. I have read book upon book from this time period, as this is my favorite part of history to study. This is the first book from the time period I have put down. I checked out the second book (sequel) becau ...more
Rebecca
Mar 29, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
It was SO good I read it in one day ...more
Steve
Mar 27, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it
YA Young adult....Used for my :"stull" professional evaluation. wonderful descriptions of leaving Russia around 1895. Complete with a samovar. The kids loved being in a wagon mock up 3' X 8' with 5 people plus 2 babies and chicken coops on top of them, hiding from the tzar's boys.. In my special ed class, the 30 vocabulary words were too much and the kids got g;lassy eyed. I finally came up with 6 words they needed to get: tzar, russia, persecution, the Jewish People, America. Took 1/2 hour but ...more
Shannon
Mar 24, 2008 Shannon added it
Shelves: read-in-2008
good story, pleasant reading. written for older children, young adults.

I chose to read this book while looking for a historical, literary reference for my son who is trying to process his recent discoveries of the holocaust. I felt like it was important to find some deeper connections to the question of, "how could that have happened?"

The Night Journey does an excellent job of bringing history into the present, and presenting just enough information forward to make the subject matter understan
...more
Joy
May 28, 2015 Joy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
<3
Susan
May 10, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
I loved the approach this story took in telling a tale of escape Jewish pogroms in Russia by using a great-grandmother telling the tale to her 13 year old great-granddaughter -- in secret! It was sweet to see the unity build between the generations, and have the young girl come to truly love and appreciate her elder relative. Now I just want the sequel with the rest of the story of how her grandmother ends up marrying one of their saviors, Reuven Bloom!
Alicia
This British book flipped back and forth from modern day life of a schoolgirl to her great-grandmother escaping Russian persecution of Jews around 1900. I liked the escape story line.
Kathryn Spencer-kociol
This is such a loving touted book, I was so completely disappointed by how slow and hackneyed the plot is. There is little character development and even less originality in the characters themselves. The plot is tired with a reel of stereotypical "Jewish" references. At times it came close to reaching the extreme corniness of The Devil's Arithmetic. I am so disappointed this won the Nation Jewish Book Award.
Sandi
Dec 04, 2007 Sandi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ages 10 & up
13 year old Rachael learns about history and about her family from her great-grandmother Sashie as they spend afternoons together. Rachael is enthralled as
Sashie tells her how she planned her family’s escape from Czarist Russia near
the turn of the century when she was 9 years old.

Good for discussions on topics of prejudice, oppression, Jewsish culture & History, Soviet Union, Nicholas II 1894-1917
Christy
Thirteen-year-old Rachel dreads the afternoons she has to spend with her great- grandmother, Nana Sashie-until Sashie begins to reminisce about her childhood in Russia and Rachel finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of memories. As the events and characters of Sashie's past come to life, Rachel discovers a distant country and time, a time when Jews were forced to serve i
Nancy
Published as a young adult book, this is about a 13 year old girl who becomes mesmerized by her grandmother’s story of escaping from czarist Russia. An interesting perspective on that time in history and I also liked the irony of how the relating of a tragic past forms a bond between the generations.
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her latest book, Guardians of Ga'Hoole Book 15: The War of the Ember, was released on November 1, 2008. Guardians of Gahoo ...more
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