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Promises to the Dead

Promises to the Dead A promise made to the dead is a promise kept All Jesse Sherman seeks in the Maryland woods is a big turtle for his uncle Philemon s dinner Instead he finds the slave boy Perry and his mother Lydia a

A promise made to the dead is a promise kept.All Jesse Sherman seeks in the Maryland woods is a big turtle for his uncle Philemon s dinner Instead, he finds the slave boy Perry and his mother, Lydia a young woman nearly ready to give birth Lydia asks Jesse to see Perry safely to freedom, and when tragedy strikes, Jesse s bound to make good on his word even if itA promise made to the dead is a promise kept.All Jesse Sherman seeks in the Maryland woods is a big turtle for his uncle Philemon s dinner Instead, he finds the slave boy Perry and his mother, Lydia a young woman nearly ready to give birth Lydia asks Jesse to see Perry safely to freedom, and when tragedy strikes, Jesse s bound to make good on his word even if it means risking both his and Perry s lives.Soon the authorities are on the lookout for Jesse and Perry The boys must be extra careful not even Jesse s white skin will protect them Courage, determination, wits and a promise will have to see them through.

  • Unlimited Promises to the Dead - by Mary Downing Hahn
    317 Mary Downing Hahn

About Author

  1. Mary Downing Hahn says:
    I grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland Our block was loaded with kids my age We spent hours outdoors playing Kick the Can and Mother, May I as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory the woods on the other side of the train tracks, the creek that wound its way through College Park, and the experimental farm run by the University of Maryland.In elementary school, I was known as the class artist I loved to read and draw but I hated writing reports Requirements such as outlines, perfect penmanship, and following directions killed my interest in putting words on paper All those facts who cared what the principal products of Chile were To me, writing reports was almost as boring as math Despite my dislike of writing, I loved to make up stories Instead of telling them in words, I told them in pictures My stories were usually about orphans who ran away and had the sort of exciting adventures I would have enjoyed if my mother hadn t always interfered.When I was in junior high school, I developed an interest in complex stories I wanted to show how people felt, what they thought, what they said For this, I needed words Although I wasn t sure I was smart enough, I decided to write and illustrate children s books when I grew up Consequently, at the age of thirteen, I began my first book Small Town Life was about a girl named Susan, as tall and skinny and freckle faced as I was Unlike her shy, self conscious creator, however, Susan was a leader who lived the life I wanted to live my ideal self, in other words Although I never finished Small Town Life, it marked the start of a lifelong interest in writing.In high school, I kept a diary In college, I wrote poetry and short stories and dreamed of being published in The New Yorker Unfortunately, I didn t have the courage or the confidence to send anything there By the time my first novel was published, I was 41 years old That s how long it took me to get serious about writing The Sara Summer took me a year to write, another year to find a publisher, and yet another year of revisions before Clarion accepted it.Since Sara appeared in 1979, I ve written an average of one book a year If I have a plot firmly in mind when I begin, the writing goes fairly quickly More typically, I start with a character or a situation and only a vague idea of what s going to happen Therefore, I spend a lot of time revising and thinking things out If I d paid attention to the craft of outlining back in elementary school, I might be a faster writer, but, on the other hand, if I knew everything that was going to happen in a story, I might be too bored to write it down Writing is a journey of discovery That s what makes it so exciting.

Comment 929 on “Promises to the Dead

  1. Haley says:
    This book is very well crafted There is so much action and commotion going on in every second of this story The author used great text, making it much interesting than most books One thing that was kind of hard to follow is all of the characters There were so many of them that it was hard to completely understand what was going on in the story at some points I would have liked it even if the story line was a bit easier to follow Other than this one confusing stage of so many characters at the [...]

  2. Brandy says:
    When Jesse is sent down to the marsh to hunt a turtle for the soup pot, he knows he s in for a miserable night it s dark, it s rainy, and it s too early in the season for turtles anyway Just as he s about to give up, there s a knife at his throat, and a runaway slave is begging him to go fetch the midwife, because this slave s baby is coming now Unfortunately, labor doesn t go so well, and Jesse makes a promise to the dying Lydia to take her older son, Perry, to Balti to live with her white frie [...]

  3. C.C. Thomas says:
    This is not a typical Hahn book and so, at first, I was a little disappointed When I pick up a Hahn, I have been programmed to expect chills, thrills and goosebumps Well, actually, some of that was true in this book, too, but not because of a scary ghost The chills came from the living which was so much evil than anything undead.The story is set during the Civil War a historic setting was another departure for Hahn s regular style Jesse is an orphan who lives with his bachelor uncle who sends h [...]

  4. David Arko says:
    This book was truly amazing It started out with a sort of hard working boy named Jesse, and he was sent to catch a turtle for his Uncle Philemon to eat for dinner when he got caught by a slave woman Lydia and her son Perry He ended up making a promise to take Perry to Balti to be safe, even though the could be caught on the way.It was dramatic at times too I think the book really had some meaning and it was written from the heart I don t think I could have been as brave as Jesse at times in the [...]

  5. Amey S. says:
    This bool took place right before the civil war, a time not really considered but Mary Downing Hahn describes well All 12 year Jesse wanted to do was get a turtle for his Philemon so they could have turtle soup to help his rheumatism But things don t always go right like in Jesse s situation He ran into runaway pregnant slave named Lydia with her 7 year old son Perry Despite Jesse s efforts to get the town s healer woman Lydia dies of child birth along with her baby being stillborn But the one t [...]

  6. Dayna Smith says:
    A departure from Hahn s creepy fantasy this is purely historical fiction Set at the beginning of the Civil War, Jesse lives in Maryland, a state that has mixed loyalties While hunting turtle in the swamp near his uncle s house, Jesse finds a pregnant runaway slave and her son Lydia is dying and she makes Jesse promise to take her young son to his white aunt Jesse and Perry must travel across Maryland and eventually into Virginia They must face slave hunters and both Union and Confederate soldier [...]

  7. Queen Entaille (caitlin says:
    I think this was an excellent book I love the civil war and anything that has to do with runaway slaves The way Mary Downing Hahn describes the places Jesse and Perry travel to make you feel like you are on this thrilling adventure with them This book helps the readers understand the dangers of helping a runaway slave and how rough conditions were back then I m glad I was able to read this book, I defiantly will read some of this authors other books.

  8. Josh Garnett says:
    Promises to the Dead was about a boy who s father sent him out to get a turtle when a slave woman, in labor puts a knife to his throat and needs him to get her a doctor The beginning of the book was a bit slow for me, but as it went on suspense built and I couldn t wait till I had a chance to read it again It was over all a great book and the outcome ends on a good note but could lead to a sequel.

  9. Meghan says:
    This book is about a young boy named Jesse Sherman who grew up at the time of the Civil War While out hunting turtles for his uncle he meats a runaway slave women Lydia the slave women is pregnant but she died Before she died she made Jesse promise to take her son Perry to his aunt in the free states But when things go wrong and people start chasing them the boys have to make a new plan to save themselves To find out what happens read this amazing book.

  10. Stephanie says:
    I put off reading this even though it s been by my bed for weeks because MDH s books usually leave me shaking I didn t need to worry this time This is straight up Historical Fiction, set in Maryland at the outbreak of the Civil War What made it interesting to me was that our main character Jesse is a pretty typical southern boy who has his ideas about freedom and slavery challenged and gently turned around as he tries to keep a young slave boy safe.

  11. Peggy says:
    This is an intense, fast paced historical novel written by an incredible author The setting is the Civil War, and the story revolves around Jesse who comes across a dying slave woman, who makes him promise he will take her young son, Perry, to a relative in Balti The journey is quite treacherous, and they have to elude a slave catcher on their trail As they face danger at every step, they must face harsh truths and find a new beginning This book is one that I could not put down.

  12. Larissa Wehling says:
    I learned A LOT about the Civil War and I LOVED it to the extreme Mary Downing Hahn does an amazing job about explaining the hardships and excitment through a young white boy who meets a runaway slave and ,before she dies, promises to take her 7 year old child Perry to Balti to Perry s aunt But trouble strikes when a slave catcher follows them and is bound to catch them and bring Perry back, dead or alive.

  13. Murphy L says:
    I realy like this book because it teaches you about the slave times in the middle 1800 s it really opens your eyes to see what it was like to be in the slave times and what might happen to you if you helped a slave I think that Mary Downing Hahn does a good job writing her books to make it feel like you are actuly in the story I would suggest reading this book if you want to learn about a slaves life and the journey that they might go through trying to run away and what not.

  14. Hollie says:
    I didn t enjoy this book as much as others I ve read by this author I started reading it several times only to lose interest and read something else Set in Maryland at the beginning of the Civil War, an orphaned boy living with his crabby uncle stumbles across runaway slaves he decides to help and winds up traveling all over helping them.

  15. Christopher says:
    So I won t waste your time telling about the story, since you can already read the summary of this book But I can tell you I was pretty please with it, and I felt like I looked at the Civil War from a different perspective This author never fails to impress me I would recommend to children 10 or older, as well as adults

  16. Katrina says:
    An historical fiction novel set in a time just before the civil war I liked it even though the main character wasn t quite believable to me I would give it 3.5 stars if I could I recommend it younger people than us critical older folks, but you won t be sorry if you read it anyway the adventure was entertaining and the history is interesting.

  17. Nicole says:
    One of my 5th graders really liked wanted me to read Historical fiction, not really my thing I was surprised that a 5th grader would enjoy with all the talk of how badly white men took advantage of black women, ending up with babies all Just not for me had things I think only adults would understand.

  18. Deana Starnes says:
    I just finished this book Another of Mary Downing Hahn s It is a bit different than her other s that I have read In this one a boy happens upon a dying slave woman, makes a promise to take her son who is also a slave to her white friend This is the journey of the 2 of them during the civil war It has a happy ending and I enjoyed reading it.

  19. Makena Cordero says:
    It was a enjoyable book but I got lost through some of the book It was cool to see what it was like back in the Civil War Era and see what people acted like back then Through the book I was always interested to read I suggest this book to ages 10 and for boys and girls who enjoy thrilling tales of someones life.

  20. Mason Draper says:
    This book was pretty good I usually don t like to read historical fiction, but this was pretty good It starts really slow, but once you get past that part it gets exciting It has a good story line and i learned a little about the Civil War I would say read it for a historical fiction.

  21. Brianna W. says:
    this book is very interesting it is about a boy promising to keep a run away slaves son safe and away from the slave hunter, while trying to get him to his family it makes you want to keep reading it to see how the little boy reaches his destination.

  22. Lori says:
    Excellent book I was riveted I liked this even better than the last Mary Downing Hahn book I read There are some hard subjects in this book, but they are not investigated in detail I recommend it for juvie lit 7th and above and an easy read for grown ups.

  23. Meghan Radigan says:
    All of Mary Downing Hahn s books leave you with a sense of enrichment Promise s to the Dead wasn t an exception, and left me feelings enlightened I highly recommend this book to any of Hahn s fans, or even someone who wants a good adventure story.

  24. Brandi says:
    It took me a while to get into this book, although I think that may have been about the mood I was in, but once I got about a quarter of the way through I was drawn in to the story Great piece of historical fiction for middle grade readers.

  25. Tori says:
    Set right before the civil war, a young boy makes a promise to a runaway slave to find a way to get her son to safety It was interesting to read about some of unrest happening in different states at the time.

  26. Catherine says:
    I usually enjoy reading anything Hahn writes, but this one falls flat The characters are poorly developed The villiam would not have acted they way he did considering how it ended huge plot problem I felt like I was being told a story instead of shown a story.



  27. Sheila says:
    This was a historical fiction and well worth the read Kept me turning pages What a twist at the end.

  28. TonksToes says:
    I never finished the book I had to turn it back in vnv

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