To kw things, for us to kw things, is bad for them. We get to wanting and when we get to wanting it's bad for them. They thinks we want what they got . . . . That's why they don't want us reading. -- Nightjohn I didn't kw what letters was, t what they meant, but I thought it might be something I wanted to kw. To learn. -- SarnySarny, a female slave at the Waller plantation, first sees Nightjohn when he is brought there with a rope around his neck, his body covered in scars.He had escaped rth to freedom, but he came back--came back to teach reading. Kwing that the penalty for reading is dismemberment Nightjohn still retumed to slavery to teach others how to read. And twelve-year-old Sarny is willing to take the risk to learn.Set in the 1850s, Gary Paulsen's groundbreaking new vel is unlike anything else the award-winning author has written. It is a meticulously researched, historically accurate, and artistically crafted portrayal of a grim time in our nation's past, brought to light through the personal history of two unforgettable characters.