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A Long Way From Chicago
Richard Peck
Honor - 1999




Biplanes, Chicago, the Great Depression, grandparents, Illinois, travel


Joey and his sister, Mary Alice visit their Grandma Dowdel every year during their summer vacation. They live in the big city of Chicago, while Grandma lives in a small Illinois town. We learn about small-town life during the Depression. There are seven short stories for the years 1929 through 1942. Grandma's life is different to say the least! Her town has many interesting characters. The story is told by Joe as an adult as he reminisces about those summer trips. Grandma's life makes for fun adventures.

Classroom Connections:

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Author and Book Connections
Richard Peck has written over twenty books including: Strays Like Us, The Great Interactive Dream Machine, Lost in Cyberspace, Father Figure, The Ghost Belonged to Me , Ghost I Have Been, Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death, The Last Safe Place on Earth, and Voices After Midnight.
Cool Classroom Connections
Summer Vacation. See how people used to spend their vacations at "Wayback". Explore the "Road Trips" page to see how other people have spent their summer vacations. Write about something funny that happened on your summer vacation. Compare your experience with Joey's.
Biplanes. Joey got the chance to ride in a biplane. Choose a picture of a plane from the Internet. Write about the things you might see if you were flying over your town in this plane.
Cities vs. Small Towns. Compare and contrast life in the city and country. Where do you live? Would you rather live in Chicago or a small town in Illinois. Why?
Grandma. The children spend summers with their grandmother. Read about Grandmothers. Write your own parent or grandparent poem. Read about Grandma Annie O'Neill. Write a story about an older person who is doing something great.
Depression. The first few stories took place during the Depression. How did the Depression affect the small town?
WebQuest & Lesson Plan Connections 
Webquest--Parental Decisions (Grade 6) by M. Bonner
This activity is based on the book: A Long Way From Chicago by R. Peck.
Book Discussion Guide: A Long Way From Chicago by R. Peck
from Talk It Up! at Multnomah County Library (Oregon)
Boom or Bust: Summers with Grandma (Grades 6-10) by D. Freeman & T. Hansen
This study of the Great Depression uses the book: A Long Way From Chicago.
What Was So Great About the Great Depression? (Grades 6-10) by D. Freeman & T. Hansen
This is a lesson plan for learning about the Great Depression.
Developing Historical Perspective by L.L. Hinkle
Here is a unit plan on A Long Way From Chicago.
TeacherVeiw: A Long Way From Chicago by K. Smith from Houghton Mifflin Company
This teacher review provides a summary and suggestions for analysis and writing activities.
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Created by Annette Lamb, 10/99. Updated by Nancy Smith, 09/03.
All Rights Reserved. This website is intended for teachers and their students who may copy and use the materials for classroom use. Duplication of site materials for redistribution or commercial use is prohibited without permission. For a complete set of materials, contact Vision to Action for information about the book. Newberys and the Net: Thematic Technology Connections by Annette Lamb and Nancy Smith .