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The Great Depression
(1929-1945)

Kids in Depression Times: Alice - 1934



Kids in Depression Times: Alice - 1934
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.28

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    adventurous, aviatrix, crispy, half-chewed, know-Amelia, lousy, crashing, flyer, boring, grit, speck, tears, working, name, onto, mostly
     content words:    But I'd, Dust Bowl, Miss Colley, Elsie Slinker, Miss Smarty Pants, President Roosevelt


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Kids in Depression Times: Alice - 1934
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     "A"—my name is Alice, and I live in Alaska. I fly airplanes like Amelia. You know—Amelia Earhart, the woman flyer. A few years ago, she flew across the Atlantic all by herself. She's an "aviatrix." I like that word. It sounds adventurous.
 
2     But I don't really fly planes. I'm just a kid. And I really live in Arkansas. But I'd rather live in Alaska. It hasn't rained rain here for three whole years! All it rains now is dirt.
 
3     Do you know what they call this place? The Dust Bowl. And that's what it is—one big bowl of dust. We even have dust storms with huge black clouds. But they're not rain clouds. It's just dirt and wind. What kind of lousy weather is that?
 
4     The dirt gets in everything. You can feel the grit in your teeth. Mostly, all we ever have to eat is beans and corn bread. But it would be good to have them without dirt for once. I hate dirt. I bet in Alaska they don't have even a speck of dust.
 
5     My teacher is Miss Colley. That sounds like a kind of dog, but Miss Colley is very pretty. She has shiny brown hair and glasses. Her face even shines when she smiles at you, like there is a light inside it. She says I am her star reader.
 
6     I love books. Only I don't like the books at school called readers. They are about these kids called Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. Dick and Jane have very boring lives. They use the same little words over and over, like "Run, Spot, run!" They never use adventurous words like aviatrix.
 
7     Dinner is not my favorite time at school. Who gets excited about corn bread? The other day Elsie Slinker pulled a big red apple out of her dinner pail. It made a big crunch when she bit into it. Elsie only ate part of her apple. Then she threw the rest away.
 
8     I looked at that half-chewed apple sitting there in the trash. It would be crispy to bite, I thought. The juice would run down your chin. I wanted to pick it up and eat what Elsie had thrown away. But I stopped myself. That'll be the day, when I pick up Elsie Slinker's leftovers. Besides, Elsie probably has bacteria. That's a big "b" word.

Paragraphs 9 to 16:
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