Nothing to Fear
Jackie French Koller
In writing Nothing To Fear, the author was able to do a great deal of research by interviewing older
members of her own family. Many of the incidents in the book, in fact, are based on true incidents that
happened to the people she interviewed. Details like these really bring a story to life. For years after
writing the book, everywhere the author went, older people would tell her their own stories of living
through the Great Depression.
Most of the people who lived through the Great Depression have passed on now, but maybe you can
find some older relatives or community members who can still remember those days. If so, see if you
can arrange an interview. Write out questions that you especially want to ask them. Take notes, or
ask them if you can record or video your  conversation. Ask them if they have any photographs they
can show you from that era.
If you aren't fortunate enough to be able to speak firsthand with someone from that generation, you
can certainly find people who did. Your own grandparents and great uncles and aunts were the
children of the Depression era generation. They grew up listening to the stories their parents would tell
them about the hardships and deprivations they had faced. Ask them to share those stories with you,
and ask them what effects the Great Depression may have had on their own lives.
Visit your local library and look for books about the Great Depression. Some wonderful pictorial essays
have been done about this era. Look up images from America in the 1930's online. Take special note of
the peoples' faces in the pictures. What emotions do you see there?
See if you can find some copies of old newspapers from the 30's online, or ask if your library has any
newspapers on microfilm from that era. If so, read through some of them. Take special note of prices of
food and clothing. Take a look at the classifieds. Are there many jobs available? What do the jobs pay?
Now look at the prices of rental apartments and homes for sale.
Based on your research, write a short story about a child your age living during the Great Depression.
Include some of the real incidents that people have told you about. After you have revised and done a
final draft of your story, make copies for the people who helped you with your research.