THE HOUSE OF DIES DREAR by Virginia Hamilton. This book has been around since 1968 but I just never took the time to read it. Wow! Am I glad I finally did.
This story combines mystery, ghosts, new kid in town, and the fascinating history of the Underground Railroad. Did you know the state of Ohio had as many as 60,000 slaves pass through its underground railroads between 1812 and 1850?
The Newbery Award winning author, the late Virginia Hamilton grew up in Yellow Springs, OH. which is a town similar to the one where 13 year old Thomas Small moves with his family in the mid sixties.
The family has moved to a big, hulking old house that is full of secret passageways and danger seems to lurk everywhere.
There is a strange old man, Pluto, who is the caretaker of the property which is owned by a foundation to preserve the history of the Underground Railroad. It turns out that he is guarding much more than old passageways and an old house.
Ghosts and strange triangle symbols are mixed in with the story of Thomas as he explores his new home and meets some of the townspeople.
For a really riveting read, pick this up. It is a fascinating glimpse into the world of the runaway slaves and the fictional abolitionist, Dies Drear who helped so many of them. The book is suitable for ages 10 and up.
Words for Black History Month: abolitionist; Underground Railroad; sinister; desolation; concealment; forlorn; maze; symbol; massive; supernatural; slave.