American Diaries: Zellie Blake Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of American Diaries: Zellie Blake

After the death of her beloved grandmother, twelve year old Zellie Blake is forced to find work at a boarding house in Lowell, Massachusetts. It is 1834 and Zellie is an African American young girl who was born free during slavery. Mrs. Gird, who runs the boarding house, is a tough taskmaster and she works Zellie very hard in exchange for room, board, food and small wages. Much to Zellie's dismay, Mrs. Gird has asked Zellie to spy on the young women who live at the boarding house and who work at the textile mills. Mrs. Gird is convinced that these girls are up to something and she wants Zellie to help her get to the bottom of the mystery. Zellie hates the idea of spying on people and she can't imagine how the girls will react if they discover that she is spying on them for Mrs. Gird. When Zellie makes the acquaintance of an Irish seamstress, Miss O'Brien, she immediately strikes up a friendship with the kindly woman. In return for giving her a headache cure, Miss O'Brien promises to teach Zellie to sew. As Zellie begins to take sewing lessons with Miss O'Brien she begins to see a light at the end of her tunnel. Miss O'Brien shows her that she can make a life for herself as a seamstress or as a teacher. When Zellie discovers that the girls in the boarding house are staging a woman's right's demonstration at the textile mill she can't bring herself to tell Mrs. Gird. But when Mrs. Gird realizes that Zellie didn't provide her with the information she was seeking, will Zellie be thrown out on the street?
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The review of this Book prepared by Sandra Calhoune

Chapter Analysis of American Diaries: Zellie Blake

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   struggling to earn a living to survive Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   union leaders fighting for labor rights Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Age 11-14 Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   grade school Parents/lack of parents problem?    -   orphan story

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   blue collar Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Black (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   9 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Kathleen Duey Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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