We are excited to invite all children and their caregivers in Park Ridge to read A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck during the month of October as part of our community-wide reading event, Park Ridge Reads. Set in a rural Illinois town in the late 1920’s and 1930’s, this books features vignettes that recount two children’s annual summer visit to their larger than life Grandmother’s home.
Joey and Mary Alice are reluctant to leave their home in “Al Capone’s” Chicago at first, but by their third summer they have concluded that Grandma is not a good influence and their reluctance to visit wanes. Of course, they keep dragging their heels so as not to let their parents in their secret enjoyment of Grandma Dowdel.
The book is told from Joey’s perspective, as an adult “older than Grandma” looking back on his and Mary Alice’s summers visiting Grandma. The book reads like a series of tall tales; as one might expect from a man looking back and sharing his family’s legends. Grandma’s disdain for her small town’s gossip, prohibition and the law in general create laugh-out-loud scenarios each summer for Joey and Mary Alice as Grandma pulls pranks, creates schemes to catch local hooligans and discreetly wreaks havoc in her hometown with her grandkids in tow.
The author, Richard Peck is from Decatur, Illinois and the fictional and unnamed small town in this story is very much based on Peck’s remembering of Decatur as a young man. In fact, many of Richard Peck’s books are set in Illinois, including two companion titles to A Long Way from Chicago that feature more escapades with Grandma Dowdel.
We hope you will join the community in reading A Long Way from Chicago, start a conversation with your neighbors and classmates about the book and join us at the Library for a culminating event on Sunday, October 26. For more information on Park Ridge Reads for Kids, visit our website.
Adults, you can also be a part of the adult Park Ridge Reads by reading Michael Hainey’s After Visiting Friends and participating in a variety of events including book discussions and a culminating event at the Pickwick Theater on October 27. For more information on After Visiting Friends and Park Ridge Reads events for adults, visit our website.
Posted by: Kelly