The Courage of Sarah Noble

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The Courage of Sarah Noble book cover.jpg
First edition
Author Alice Dalgliesh
Cover artist Leonard Weisgard
Genre Historical Fiction
Publisher Scribner and Sons
Publication date

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh is the story of a young girl who travels with her father into Connecticut during the early 18th century, and her experiences with the native Schaghticoke. It was published in 1954 and received a Newbery Honor Award.[1]

The story[edit]

Sarah accompanies her father in his journey to set up their farm in a newly purchased plot in New Milford. Once they arrive, Sarah and her father begin scouting the land he has bought. They are approached by the people who lived there, the Schaghticoke.[2] Sarah is frightened because of rumors she has heard from children about the "Indians" they would encounter,[3] but finds that the Schaghticoke are friendly to her and her father. They teach them the things they will need to know to survive. In the story, Sarah gives the "Indians" new Christian names, and is given credit as the first teacher in New Milford.[4]


Alice Dalgliesh begins the book with an author's note. In the note, she explicitly states that this is a "true story" and makes a reference to "records" of events.[5] There is still much research that needs to be completed to verify the "facts" presented in this book. As it stands, the New Milford Historical Society holds the majority of the resources for this research.[6] Currently, there is research under way to study the sources that have made this book a mainstay in the education system.


The Courage of Sarah Noble was published in 1954. Today there is controversy about the treatment of the Native Americans in this book. Some people feel that because the story is so widely used in school curriculum, the criticisms are ignored.[citation needed] The controversy surrounding the story was also linked to some dissatisfaction about a statue erected for Sarah Noble.[7]


The New York Times Book Review said of The Courage of Sarah Noble "This one is to be long remembered for its beautifully written beauty and simplicity."[8] The American lists it among their best books for 1954 for juveniles to read.[9] Reviewer Anita Silvey appreciates Sarah's character when she calls her "a protagonist strong enough to accompany her father into the wilderness to build a new cabin for their family and to remain there alone when Father goes back for the rest of the family."[10]

Despite this praise, the book has been criticized. The review from Oyate [1] is much more detailed in its analysis of content, citing that "The Courage of Sarah Noble was published in 1954, and it is very much a product of its time—a time that has come and gone."[11]


  1. ^ SLSC Newbery Medal and Honor Books
  2. ^ History of the Schaghticoke
  3. ^ Dalgliesh, Alice, and Leonard Weisgard. 1954. The Courage of Sarah Noble. New York: Scribner. pp 10-11.
  4. ^ Dalgliesh, Alice, and Leonard Weisgard. 1954. The Courage of Sarah Noble. New York: Scribner. pp 52-53.
  5. ^ Dalgliesh, Alice, and Leonard Weisgard. 1954. The Courage of Sarah Noble. New York: Scribner. Author's Note
  6. ^ New Milford Historical Society
  7. ^ Blue Corn Comics
  8. ^ New York Times
  9. ^ Sheehan, E. (1954, May 29). Some juvenile bests for spring '54. America, 91(9), 248-251.
  10. ^ Silvey, Anita (editor), The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton Mifflin, 2002, pg. 90;
  11. ^ Oyate - Books to Avoid