Books > A Long Way

A Long Way book cover

When a special gift for Grandma arrives one sunny day, a little girl decides to deliver the gift in person.  Though Grandma's house is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, to the girl, it seems like a long way.  And it takes a special kind of creativity to get there.  

So come along on this fun-filled journey of the imagination and discover where the world of make-believe can take you.

“One cardboard box plus one girl’s active imagination equals an extended jaunt to Grandma’s house next door with a detour into make-believe . . . . Background details, like a Humpty Dumpty knickknack among the kitchen clutter, add to the story’s buoyant, can-do tone.  Readers are continually treated to clues as to where the resourceful girl gets her creative spirit, as in the whimsical mailbox her mother paints or the concluding “tea party” grandma hosts.  A clever synergy of art and text, and an invigorating romp into the realm of childhood play.”  —Publishers Weekly 

A Long Way is currently out of print.  Copies are available from the author in large and small quantities.  Email for details.

Teacher Guide for A Long Way

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The Story Behind A Long Way

A Long Way started out as a true story.  On a June day many years ago I traveled with my two young daughters to New York City.  We met my mother there, in Grand Central Station and toured New York together.  

New York City, Times Square

In one day, the girls and I traveled on six different types of transportation:  car, plane, bus, subway, ferryboat, train.  And of course in between all those we used our feet.  That’s how the story started, but it’s not how it ended up.

Illustration from A Long WayIllustration from A Long Way

Tricia Tusa is a marvelous illustrator and when the editors at Candlewick suggested her for my book I was really excited.  In her hands, A Long Way became a different sort of journey, one that takes place in a big brown box and in the imagination of a whimsical, energetic little girl. 

The grandmother, too, is pretty wild.  When I shared the book with students in the first grade class where my older daughter is the teacher, one child asked, “Is Mrs. Z’s grandma as silly as this grandma?”  My daughter, Mrs. Z, said, “She's silly but not quite that silly.”  Good thing nobody asked if Mrs. Z’s mother (the author) was that silly.

The timing is unusual too.  The book was published in 2003, exactly 20 years after the trip that inspired it.  While the words reflect the experiences of my daughters, two little girls who are now grownups, Tricia Tusa’s pictures remind me of the creative personality of my granddaughter who is just the sort to grab tape and scissors and get to work.



© 2009 Katherine Ayres All Rights Reserved