The House of Dies Drear looks at what life might have been like for people running from slavery. A hundred years before the Smalls move into the Dies Drear house, it was a shelter for runaway slaves. That's why Mr. Small, a historian, chose the house in the first place. That's also why his thirteen-year-old son Thomas is so excited about it. Thomas's vivid imagination and intense curiosity come together to send him back in time. The journey is painful, because it deals with suffering and injustice. It's also beautiful, because it looks at what it was like to be brave in the face of a dangerous struggle for freedom.
The House of Dies Drear is a good way for students to learn about the Underground Railroad and the history of abolition in the US.
The House of Dies Drear isn't the best way for students to learn about the Underground Railroad, because it's hard to tell what is real and what is made up for the story.