Rudy Rides the Rails

A Depression Era Story

In 1932, Akron, Ohio was no better off than other parts of the country. Since Black Tuesday in '29, companies are closed, men all over the state are out of work, and families are running out of hope. Thirteen-year-old Rudy wants to help but doesn't know where to turn. His father, sullen and withdrawn, spends his time sulking on their front porch. His mother is desperate, not knowing how she will feed and care for her family. When Rudy learns of other boys leaving town and heading west to seek their fortunes, he hops a train figuring at least there will be one less mouth to feed at home. As Rudy lives the hobo life while he "rides the rails" to California, young readers are given a snapshot view and testament of Depression-era America.Writer Dandi Daley Mackall met the real "Ramblin' Rudy" in 2000 and was inspired to capture his story and the spirit of adventure shown by many during the Great Depression. She conducts writing workshops across the United States and speaks at numerous conferences. Dandi lives in West Salem, Ohio. Rudy Rides the Rails is Chris Ellison's second book with Sleeping Bear Press. He also illustrated Let Them Play, which was named to the 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People list. Chris is presently working on another Tales of Young Americans story about the Oklahoma Land Run. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
$17.95 $17.95
$29.95 $29.95
Interest Level Grade 1 - Grade 4
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey FIC
Lexile 750L
ATOS Reading Level 4.3
Guided Reading Level Q
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585362868), PDF (9781627531559), Hosted ebook (9781627533898)
Copyright 2007, 2014
Number of Pages 40
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations
  • Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children: Top Five Books, Co-winner
  • Delaware Diamonds Booklist Grades 3-5 Cateogry: A Children's Choice Award, Short-listed, 2009
  • Alabama Dept of Education's Emphasis on Reading Program: Children's Choice Award--Grades 2-3, Winner, 2008
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People List, Short-listed, 2008
  • Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children Book of the Month, Winner, 2008
  • Kids' Wings Award List by Kids' Wings Creative Educational Associates, Short-listed, 2007
  • Chicago Book & Media, Award of Excellence--Children's Picture Book category, Winner, 2007

Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression Era Story - Teaching Guide

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Author: Dandi Daley Mackall

Dandi Daley Mackall has published more than 350 books for children and grown-ups, with sales of $3 million in 22 countries. Her publishers include Prentice-Hall, Simon & Schuster, Dutton/Penguin-Putnam, HarperCollins, Harcourt, DreamWorks, Disney, Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera. Although she has always been interested in Native American culture and history (with the rumor of a distant Native American branch in her own family tree), The Legend of Ohio is her first Native American legend.Dandi is a frequent guest on radio talk shows; has hosted more than 200 radio phone-in programs; and has made dozens of appearances on TV. She was an instructor for Highlights conference and teaches novel writing for the Institute of Children's Literature. Dandi conducts writing assemblies and workshops across the U.S. and keynotes at conferences and young author events. She writes from rural Ohio with her husband, Joe, children Jen, Katy and Dan and their horses, dogs and cats.

Illustrator: Chris Ellison

Chris Ellison received his formal art training at the Harris School of Art in Franklin, Tennessee, and then later at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He has illustrated both children's picture books and adult historical fiction for nearly 20 years. Chris has illustrated several books for Sleeping Bear Press including M is for Mom: A Child's Alphabet; The Lucky Star, Rudy Rides the Rails, Pappy’s Handkerchief, a 2007 Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year. His first book with Sleeping Bear Press, Let Them Play, was named a 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Chris lives in Petal, Mississippi, with his wife, Lesley, and two young sons.

Original artwork
Teaching guides
Full-color illustrations