Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Thomas, Rob
New York : Simon and Schuster, 1997.
ISBN 0689802064

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

It's time for the annual Robert E. Lee High School's Slave Day auction. Students and teachers are put up for bid to be "slaves" for a day. Keene Davenport just can't believe that people can't see how demeaning this is. How can people be so insensitive? What would happen if the African American student council president were "bought" and forced to pick cotton in the school hallway or shine shoes? Find out how Keene and other students protest the annual Slave Day ritual.

Booktalk #2

Every high school has traditions.  My high school had (fill in) a tradition of wacky dress-up day during homecoming week.  I'm sure (fill in) high school has traditions that have been upheld for many years. Robert E. Lee High School has a tradition:  Slave Day.

Slave Days is a fundraiser where the student council auctions themselves, as well as willing faculty members to make money for the homecoming dance.

Keene Davenport, an African-American student writes a letter to the editor of local newspaper Deerfield Herald expressing his outrage at the upcoming event. (Read letter excerpts from pgs 1-2).  Keene's six-grade teacher mother says that under no circumstances may he skip school.  Being forced to go to school, Keene comes up with a plan.}

Meet the slaves. Mr. Twilley.  The hardest teacher in the school.  Mr. History is his nickname, implying that he's been part of it for a long time.  Student Tommy Parks buys him for $1.14.   Incidentally, Tommy failed Twilley's class last year.

Shawn Greeley.  Robert E. Lee's first African-American student council president, as well as basketball star.  Keene Davenport buys Shawn for $30.

Annabella Guzaldo.  Considered one of the hottest girls in school by some students.  Timm Trimble, high school "player", buys her for $43.  Timm is planning on getting his money's worth.

Jenny Robinson.  Dance team member and girlfriend of football star Clint DeFriesz.  Clint started the bid at $5, but Clint's friend Damien upped the bid.  Clint unhappily pays $20 for Jenny.

Brendan Young.  Local computer wiz.  He's the last slave up for bids.  Tiffany Delvoe starts the bid at $100.  Tiffany's Mayor and Ford Dealer Father insisted she very vocally spend this money at the event.

So Slave Day begins.  Each owner can order his or her slave to do anything within reason, until the bonfire scheduled for that night.

Someone will get hurt.  Someone will learn an important lesson.  Someone will break the law.  Someone will again find the joy of life.  Someone will wise up.

Not to mention what the rest of the school discovers on Slave Day by Rob Thomas.  Available at your branch of the library.

Crystal Bruner  <>

SUBJECTS:     High schools  -- Fiction
                        Schools  -- Fiction
                        Race relations  -- Fiction


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