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Dear America: Look to the Hills Booktalk

  • Grades: 6–8

All her life, since she was only two, it had been Zettie and Ree, Ree and Zettie. They went everywhere together, learned the same lessons, slept in the same room, ate the same food, and experienced the same things. No one ever pointed out that Ree was a member of the French aristocracy, and Zettie was an African slave, purchased to be her companion. At twelve, Zettie never imagined she’d live anywhere but the mansion where she and Ree had grown up. But when Ree’s father, the marquis, and his older son died suddenly, leaving his cruel and spendthrift younger son as his heir, it wasn’t long before all the property had to be sold to pay his debts. And after ten years, Zettie finally realized that she was not a companion. She was a slave, and was sold along with the rest of the marquis’ property.

But both Ree and Zettie would find things in the wilds of New England very different from the warm and peaceful French countryside where they grew up. Zettie would finally have to come to terms with the facts of her African heritage and her position as a slave. Ree would have to learn that she’d have to treat Zettie like other slaves in New England, or put both their lives and their mission in jeopardy.

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