Dancing With Katya

Written by Dori Chaconas
Illustrated by Constance Bergum

Peachtree Publishers
ISBN: 1-56145-376-5

Katya falls ill with a mysterious, crippling disease called polio, and her dancing dreams are put on hold--perhaps forever.


Our world has changed in the past 100 years.  What are some things we have today that our grandparents didn't have?  Our great-grandparents?

Do you think you would have liked to live in the early 1900s? Why or why not?


Today we call Katya's illness polio.  What was it called when Katya became ill?  

Anna's parents didn't want Anna to go into Katya's room when Katya was sick.  Why?


Find pictures in magazines, or draw a picture of something you like to do, or would like to learn to do.

If you couldn't walk, what are some of the problems you might encounter at home or at school?


When Katya's mother took Katya to Minneapolis , why do you think Papa and Anna didn't  go with them?  

What types of chores might children have to do on a farm?

What types of chores do you do?

Do you think Katya will dance again?


Anna made up a short song about dancing.  Write your own song or poem about something you like to do.

Prepare questions and interview a grandparent about what things were like when they were a child.


Katya and Anna would have enjoyed being read to just as children do today.  One of the poems they might have liked is The Duel by Eugene Field. Find the poem on the Internet and listen as your teacher reads the poem out loud to you.


The costs of some items in 1940 were:
Loaf of bread 7 cents
Pound of butter 41 cents
Pound of cheese 31 cents
Pound of coffee 25 cents
Dozen eggs 39 cents
Gallon of milk 60 cents
5 pounds of sugar 50 cents
10 pounds of flour 50 cents

Look for grocery store advertisements in your newspaper.  What do these items cost today?


Katya and Anna liked a painting called The Dance Class by Edgar Degas.  Do some research at the library or on the Internet to find that painting.  Find other paintings by this artist.


Learn some simple square dances. 

               2006 Dori Chaconas                                                                                 HOME        BACK