Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who's the Author?

Virginia Hamilton is the author of The House of Dies Drear.

1. What interesting things did you discover about her life?

2. Why do you think she wrote this novel?


  1. It was very interesting on how she was named for her grandfather's home state, Virginia. I thought that that was very unique name and honored her grandfather.

  2. Virginia Hamilton grew up on a farm near Yellow Springs, Ohio. Her grandfather was a slave as a child and often told stories of his time as a slave so his children and grandchildren would never experience the same thing. Her parents were storytellers and she got many skills from them. Virginia was named for her grandfather's home state and many of her books were about African-Americans.

    I think she wrote her books to express her feelings on slavery and the persecution of African-Americans.

  3. Something interesting (I prefer the term cool) about Virginia Hamilton is that she was the first African-American author to win the Newberry Honor Award.

    I think Virginia Hamilton was inspired to write this book for two reasons. One is that she grew up in a historic town, Yellow Springs, which was a very important stop on the Underground Railroad. This could have caused her inspiration because she grew up learning about her hometown and how it may have helped her ancestors escape slavery. Also, because Hamilton enjoyed hearing stories of slavery and escape to freedom, she may have decided it was important for everyone to hear about them. If I had been Virginia Hamilton and I had been fascinated by these stories, I would have also tried to let everyone know about them.

  4. Michala - I wonder why, given the slavery in Virginia, she was named after it. That is an interesting concept.

    Keilen - I like how you brought up storytelling. That was the way many people "learned" things. Stories have power.

    Keara - Informing others of the past helps people to not make the same mistakes. Thank you for sharing your information about when you visited slave homes.

  5. I write for myself and strangers who read my books and become my friends-Virginia Hamilton

    I think that Virginia Hamilton wrote the house of Dies Drear because she grew up hearing stores like the legend from Dies Drear and she wanted to share a story like the ones she had heard as child with the rest of the world. Also I think that she wanted to raise awareness of what had happened to her ansesters so that it will never happen again.

  6. Virginia Hamiltion was inspired by her parents to write books. Her parents were great storytellers. Their stories were about how Virginia's grandfather escaped from slavery in Virginia when he was a child.She actually got her name, Virginia, because it was her grandfather's home state. Her parents stories inpired her to write. Their talent and enjoyment rubbed off on her. Her family's hertiage gave her a piece of her past and culture. She felt obligated to share her knowledge. Because of where she grew up, in Yellow Springs,Ohio, that could also be a reason why she decided to began writing. Like Keara said, Yellow Springs played an important role in the Underground Railroad. She could be trying to express the way she feels towards something by writing. She wanted people to know what really happened to African Americans. She actually wrote a total of 35 books.

  7. (Responding to Miss Bailin)

    I think that she was named after her grandfather's home state of Virginia,(despite that fact that it is a slave state) is because he escaped from slavery in Virginia and this could be considered a new awaking and a freedom for him. So it would be a positive experience and she could have born as a gift.

  8. Something I thought was interesting about Virginia Hamilton was that the first story she ever heard was about her grandfather's slavery, which I am sure influenced her writing. It was also interesting to me that when asked why she writes children's fiction, she said because she has been writing ever since she was a child and that it has remained with her all her life. Also I thought it was fascinating that everything Virginia Hamilton writes is based on her or an experience of hers.

    I think Virginia Hamilton wrote The House of Dies Drear because she was fascinated by the Underground Railroad and the stories her grandfather told her. Also, many authors (ex: Patricia Polacco) write books based on stories passed down to them from their parents or grandparents. Also she may have wanted to "pass along heritage and culture and pride," through her book.

    Also, Virginia Hamilton was named Virginia so she would never forget her family's history.

  9. (that is what she said in an interview)

  10. I liked the way you used an interview. (Natalie)

  11. Thank you (Hannah) I liked how you said the author might have been named to represent freedom.

  12. Virginia Hamlinton grew up on a small farm near Yellow Springs, Ohio in the 1940's. She had a big extended family of cousins, uncles, and aunts. She used to live in a place that was a stop for the underground railroad which must have been a really big impact on why she wrote this book and I think that there will be a lot of personal feelings coming out in this book. If I were that attached to the topic I am writing about, I would be really emotional in my writing and express how I feel as much as I can.

  13. (Responding to Zach)

    You are right. Her personal feelings came out in this book. But don't you think that her opinion came out to?

  14. Just something to think about:

    Do you think that Thomas could be her? That she lived on a stop on the Underground Railroad. Her parents were interested in what happened in the Civil War, like Thomas. Also, do you think that the third slave was an ancestor to the Small family? If it was, that is another thing Virginia and Thomas have alike.

    (To sum things up, the author, in my opinion, is expressing herself, feelings and opinions through Thomas)

  15. Whoops! I only posted the answer to the first question! Here is the secound answer:
    I think that she wrote this book to inform about theunderground railroad, and how secretive it all was, hence all the secret tunnels in the book.

  16. I found out that she loves frog jokes, and her web page (http://www.virginiahamilton.com/pages/frogjokes.html) is full of them.
    She died at 12:25 AM on February 19, 2002, so obviously, she doesn't write books anymore.

    The reason she wrote this book may have been because her relatives were all storytellers. I heard from someone that she was African-American, so that may be it, but I don't think that's true.

  17. 1. She managed her own webpage.

    2. From http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/pdf/house_of_dies_drear.pdf:

    "Like many other writers, she credits her family for inspiring her creativity. Hamilton remembers the family stories that were passed from person to person. [...] Hamilton grew up quite aware of her African American heritage. She knew that many of the old houses in her hometown had once been safe havens for enslaved people escaping from the South to the North and to Canada. Her own ancestors escaped slavery in the 1800s."

    So she credits her family for inspiration, and she was African American. Therefore I could say that she wrote the book because as a way of thanking her family for helping her into authorship.