Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

Night on Fire

on September 1, 2016

ibg.common.titledetail.imageloaderA nuanced and many-layered journey of self-awakening through the eyes of a white girl in small town Alabama in the 1960’s. When Billie hears that the Freedom Riders will be traveling through her town on the way to Montgomery, she begins to question her own beliefs and has to decide whether to remain silent or stand up to her family and speak out against the racism she discovers around her.

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21 Responses to “Night on Fire”

  1. Manny F. says:

    Night on fire was an excellent book about people standing up for their rights as human beings

  2. Sofi says:

    Did the two girls have a family

  3. mustang 802 says:

    Night on fire is very sad and good at some parts my class has almost finished. I like it so far and I perfer this books to the people who have not read it.

  4. peter parker says:

    I liked night on fire but some parts made me sad because my parents are different colors and i cant imagine what it would be like with all that fighting between black and white.

  5. popcorn says:

    If you like com books night on fire is your book right now to any person that likes quiet it has some fun and some quiet part in the book or it can have parts that you may not now about it if you think you now what it is about before reading it you are rouge to do that.

  6. peter parker says:

    I liked the book but there are some parts that make me sad because my dad is colored and my mom is isn’t if there was still like that today i can’t imagine what it would be like.

  7. Ancient Egyptions says:

    Night on fire is an amazing book that is an opining into the 1960’s when black and whites were separated like sheep in a pen. Also, it’s an interesting way to learn about superstitions.

  8. autumn123 says:

    The book night on fire is a good book and I hope everyone else that read the book likes it too. The book night on fire is sad to so if you like sad books this one is for you.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think the book is ok

  10. Emma J says:

    Night on Fire was an amazing book. I liked how the narrator was a white girl who cared about colored people and wanted things to change. She wanted to be a rider not a watcher.

  11. Haven M says:

    This book was amazing! It captured some of the action and events that happened during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s. The part when Jarmaine and Billie decided to go to Montgomery to see Dr. Martin Luther King jr. and the Freedom Riders showed that they were brave because they went alone and didn’t tell their parents. I thought that the Freedom Riders were also brave because they didn’t stop trying to integrate the southern USA even when there were riots and people trying to hurt them. I would definitely read this book again.

  12. kylee says:

    Night on fire is such a great book, I am glad it is a DCF book this year. The thing i loved the most is (spoiler alert) when they are trying to get out of the church when it is caught on fire. I am not telling you anymore.

  13. MaggieVT says:

    Reply #2
    Dear AmeliaVT
    When I read the section of the book where Billie and Jarmaine stood up to the people at the bus station I thought that they were being very brave. Like you said, they were only two kids, standing up to a whole group of people who didn’t seem afraid to hurt them. I did wonder if they could have hurt the two girls. If the people hadn’t been stopped, do you think Billie and Jarmaine would have been injured like the freedom riders? Also I agree with the part where you said that the crowd surrounding the two girls was similar to the one surrounding the bus earlier in the story. In both scenarios the mobs started because someone was sitting where they weren’t supposed to, and that person or people wasn’t exactly ready to move. I think that they were so especially upset and angry with them for sitting there because the Freedom Riders had done close to the same thing. It had become a big deal and they didn’t want it to look like they would give in to the freedom riders and people like them without a fight. All in all I think that AmeliaVT’s comment was really good and showed some good thinking about the story.

  14. AmeliaVT says:

    Reply# 2: Dear MaggieVT,
    I was interested in the part where Billie was going over to Grant’s house and she was talking about being scared of the dark. She said the dark was like a blanket of black wrapped around you. Billie told us Grant had a dark room he used to perfect photo’s. She used to be scared of the dark, which I can connect to because I am scared of the dark so I know how it feels. You can’t see anything in the dark so you feel so alone. Also I feel like things could be lurking under the bed just waiting to grab me as soon as I step out from my bed. I know monsters aren’t real but just because they aren’t doesn’t mean I can’t be scared of them.

    Being scared of the dark reminds me about when Jarmaine talked about being black and how it was so different from being white. Billie imagined being Jarmaine and having to worry about where to go to get food and where to drink and where to go to the bathroom, or any other things she does. Everything was separate back then when they thought white people had more rights. I couldn’t stand to have everything be that way if I were Jarmaine. I still believe people should have equal rights. Nobody should be treated that way. I think MaggieVT was right about that.

  15. MaggieVT says:

    Dear AmeliaVT,
    I was interested in the part of the book when the black boy was kicked out of the grocery store. I thought it told right away how people were treated in Anniston. But I also wondered, why didn’t Billie help the boy? I think that it was because other people were there. They would think differently about Billie if she helped him, just because he was black. Like AmeliaVT, I also wondered if Billie would be uncomfortable if things changed. Do you think she would? I think that she would be at first because it’s not what she’s used to. It would be different but it would be change for the better. Also, I agree that it is unfair how the blacks are treated and if she stands up for them, I would hope that it wouldn’t have affected her parents. All she is doing is standing up for what she thinks is right. It is her choice and I think that it should not involve her parents. I liked reading AmeliaVT’s comment and I thought it was very interesting.

  16. AmeliaVT says:

    Dear MaggieVT,
    I agree with you when you say the Freedom Riders were making their point in a peaceful way. I think they should have equal rights because it’s only their skin color that is different than us. They aren’t any different, so that gave them no right for the way they treated them. Also I understand that they wouldn’t want change, but what they did was unnecessary and mean. I think why they don’t want change is because they feel uncomfortable with them being with them and having the same rights. Some people might feel that black people don’t deserve to be their equals. I feel like you included those points in your comment clearly. This section of the book also stuck out at me because they made a new friend , Noah, who was also a black man. I definitely think having another friend will help them on their journey. Another reason I feel this is a good thing is because Noah has other friends to so if they got in trouble their would be people to help them. I think that MaggieVT covered a lot of thoughts in her comment. I agree with a lot of her opinions.

  17. MaggieVT says:

    I was very interested in the small section from pages 164-168. In this section Billie and Jarmaine sit in the section for whites only. Billie can sit there, but Jarmaine is not allowed and it starts to cause a ruckus in the bus station. The station manager firmly tells them to leave. “We don’t want trouble,” he says. Billie replies, “good, neither do we.” (page 164). I think that it was very brave of them to stand up to the station manager. It would be hard because they are breaking the law (though for a good reason). I think this shows that what the Freedom Riders are doing is good because they are showing what they think is right. Even though they are technically ‘fighting’ for equal rights, they are doing it in a peaceful way without hurting anyone. Billie and Jarmaine are doing the same thing, trying to change things for the better, but doing it peacefully. On page 165 the station manager says, “these people don’t want to change.” I sort of understand why they would be unsure about changing something they have always believed. But I wonder why people would do things like burn down buses to stop change. I think that change can be a good thing. On page 167 people start to crowd around them. I wonder how far things could get. Would it have gotten as bad as the burning bus? They were only two kids but I wonder if what happened could have gotten really big, like the Freedom Riders. I think this sort of proves that someone or something, no matter how small can make a difference.

  18. AmeliaVT says:

    Night On Fire is a book about black people and how they stand up for their own rights. When the Freedom Riders come to Anniston, a mob awaits them. Billie and Jarmaine are on their way to Montgomery, to see a meeting about the freedom riders and equal rights. “I reached for Jarmaine’s hand. It was damp with sweat. I squeezed and she squeezed back. “We’re not moving,” I said.” Billie and Jarmaine are sitting in the white waiting room. “ The woman stepped forward. The people leaned in. We were surrounded by faces and shoulders and fists. Someone grabbed my arm.” I wonder why the people at the station would try to hurt them, their only kids. It reminded me of the big mob surrounding the bus. Except this was a smaller group, and their were only two people to surround. They did this because they wouldn’t move like the Freedom Riders.

  19. MaggieVT says:

    Night on Fire is a book about the struggle for black people to have equal rights. On page 94 a group of people called Freedom Riders, mostly blacks, sat in the front of a bus. This was not allowed and people were angry and grew violent, doing terrible things. I always wonder why white people were so cruel and couldn’t see that black people and white people are the same inside and the color of their skin doesn’t matter. The way it is today is so different from then and I’m very glad that things are getting better. On page 97 things get so bad that someone burns the bus down and Billie, the main character only stands and watches. Later she feels bad for standing back. Will she take action and help promote change? I hope she does so that she can help to get rid of racism so everyone has equal rights.

  20. AmeliaVT says:

    This a book about Billie Sims and how she discovers her beliefs for white and black people. She will decide if she will fight for equal rights like the Freedom Riders or let things happen, for better or worse. In this part of the book Billie doesn’t stand up for a boy in the grocery store. “Go home,I thought. This is our neighborhood, not yours.”(pg. 17)I wonder if she will be uncomfortable if things change. I hope things do, it is unfair how they are treated. Will it affect her family if she stands up for this?

  21. Zoe C says:

    Night On Fire is about girl who lives in Anniston Alabama. She witnessed a burning bus with the Freedom Riders on it. She decided didn’t want to watch she wanted to make a difference. One day she snuck away from home with her maids daughter, they got got on a bus sat in the front and didn’t listen to the people who were mad. It’s a very powerful book.

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