A Long Way from Chicago

by Richard Peck

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

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1. Draw a map and a picture of Grandma Dowdel's southern Illinois town.

2. Grandma referred to the news reporter as being "citified." Do you think you are "citified"? Is she stereotyping the reporter? Are there good and bad stereotypes? Explain.

3. Choose one of the episodes and write it as a script. Choose classmates to help act it out. Video tape your production to share with others.

4. Create a wordless book by making one picture for each chapter to illustrate the events in the chapter. You may draw, paint, create collages, etc. The choice of medium and artistic style is yours.

5. Create one additional summer vacation with Grandma Dowdel. Mary Alice is now fourteen and Joey is sixteen. What adventure would Grandma have planned for them this time? You could write the chapter or record an oral chapter on audio tape.

6. The town saloon had closed during the Temperance movement. Research this movement and share your information.

7. A Long Way from Chicago is set during the Great Depression. What was the Great Depression? How were people affected? Was it just in the United States? If not, how were people in other parts of the world affected? Do some research. Prepare interview questions and interview several people who lived during the Great Depression. Capture the interviews on audio or video tape to include with your report and share.

8. Peck used an episodic chapter structure for this book. What does that mean? Think about your own life. Look for a recurring event in your life and write an episodic account of those events, much like Peck did in A Long Way from Chicago.

9. There are several maxims in A Long Way front Chicago. Find them and discuss their meaning. One example is: "Make something seem real, and people will believe it. The public will swallow anything."

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