Jip – His Story
Katherine Paterson


Jip has grown up on a poor farm. He doesn’t know where he came from, his age, or even his name. He finds a friend and father-like figure in Put, a man known to everyone else as the lunatic. However, when Jip discovers who his biological father is, he is forced to run. His father is a slave owner, and his mother was a slave running away. Jip is running from this man who gave him physical life, but who is trying to take away his free life. As Jip tries to escape, many sacrifice to help him. Put ends up sacrificing his life in attempt to help Jip stay free. Jip refuses to let any others sacrifice their lives for him so he runs from even those who wish to help. He must stay free, but he must keep others from ruining their lives as well.

Story Line

Life Application

As believers, we are called to care for the widows and the orphans. Both of these groups are presented in this book. But in the book, people are more concerned with their own comfort than with helping those in need. Our country has handed over these responsibilities to the government instead of taking care of those in need around us. We seem to care more about our own comfort than for those who are hurting and in need. We’d rather legislate taxes and government programs to help these people than do it ourselves. We should look for ways to get involved beyond just writing a check. We can give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked. We can take in strangers, visit the sick and those in prison. In fact, Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31ff that when we do or do not do these things that we do them to Him.

Ideas for Use in Class

This book could be used in many different ways in the classroom. It could go along with a unit on slavery. It could be used to generate discussion on what gives a person worth. A person’s worth does not come from his/her parents, circumstances, or education level. It comes from God who made each person. (This part may not be able to be said bluntly in a public classroom, but the idea can be presented without direct mention of God.) This book could also be used to discuss how communities care for the poor. Whose job is it to provide for those who have nothing. What things are done in our community for the poor? - SM