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The House of Dies Drear, Virginia Hamilton

At one level, The House of Dies Drear presents a suspenseful mystery story complete with ghosts, secret passageways, and buried treasure. At a deeper level, it follows the lessons learned by young Thomas Small as he confronts his own prejudice toward a strange old man and the perceived prejudice he feels as a newcomer to a small town. At a deeper level still, the story serves as the backdrop for a fascinating glimpse into the Underground Railway and the unique historical treasures of African American culture.

Related Readings

from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave—autobiography of Frederick Douglass

"Write This Down"—narrative nonfiction by Jacqueline Tobin

"Follow the Drinking Gourd"—folk song

from Reminisciences of Levi Coffin—excerpts from the autobiography of Levi Coffin

"Harriet Tubman and the Underground Rebellion"—biography by Patricia C. McKissack and Frederick L. McKissack

"The Lawyer and the Ghost"—short story by Charles Dickens

Study Guide (PDF)


McGraw-Hill / Glencoe