Using Grandpa's Mountain in the Classroom
Before you begin:
On a map, locate Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park, and Luray, VA (west of the Park).
To discuss after finishing the book:
How was Carrie's life at home different from her life with her grandparents? What did she like most about her summer visits?
How did the lives of the families who lived along the highway that crossed the mountain differ from the lives of people who lived in more remote areas of the mountains? Why did the people living along the highway (then, just a two-lane road) have more advantages? What are the advantages and disadvantages of living near major highways today?
Why were some of the people in the Blue Ridge willing to leave the mountains?
Why did some of the people want to stay?
Before TV, video games, and organized summer programs, how did kids spend their time? (It might be interesting for the class to try some of the activities Carrie enjoyed: double dutch, jacks, checkers, dominoes, jigsaw puzzles, sack race, three-legged race.)
What are some other reasons that governments might take (with fair payment) the property of some of the people for the good of the public as a whole? Share with the class Jane Yolan's Letting Swift River Go. (Students may know of people who lost their land so that highways could be built or roads widened. You can add that in the WWII era, the federal government condemned land to create new army bases and to build the secret installations involved in producing the atomic bombOak Ridge, TN; Hanford, WA; Los Alamos, NM.)
For interested students:
Read other historical novels set during the Great Depression.
Learn more about the Great Depression by reading nonfiction accounts or by interviewing relatives or neighbors who remember those years.