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Book Club Guide for My Flint Hills Childhood
Kansas Memoir Makes a Great Discussion Topic for a Book Group
Book club members will thoroughly enjoy traveling back through time to the 1930s with this nostalgic memoir. Written by Gail Lee Martin, it was self-published for her 85th birthday. My Flint Hills Childhood provides a wealth of topics to fuel book club discussions. Members will find it an enjoyable reading experience that taps into current interest in what life was like during the Great Depression.
You'll find it easy to get discussions rolling with the topic guides and suggested questions provided below.
Questions to Get Your Book Group Talking
- What memories of family stories does this book trigger for you? What did family members tell you about the Great Depression? How did Gail Martin's memories differ from your impression of the 1930s.
- If you could turn back time, what would you change about family life now to make it more like the author describes in her book?
- In My Flint Hills Childhood, Gail Martin tells of recycling flour and feed sack material to make dresses. What other ideas for thrifty living did you gather from her stories?
- Ask participants to contrast the era of their childhood to the author's childhood in the 1930s. What was different and what was similar?
- The Good Old Days... what wasn't so good about those days?
- What essay in My Flint Hills Childhood struck a chord with you and why?
- What could you tell about the author's relationship with her father from her descriptions? How about her relationship with her mother?
- What was Gail Lee Martin's most admirable quality? Is this someone you would want to know or have known? Does the author remind you of someone you know or a family member?
- Compare this book to other titles your book group has read. Is it like any of them? Did you enjoy it more or less than other books you've read? What do you think will be your lasting memories of the book as a whole? How about the subject specifically?
- Do you want to read more books by this author or more about the same topic?
Gail Became a Published Author in Her 80s
Links to Topic Guides for My Flint Hills Childhood
The topic guides give background detail about subjects in the book. These help as discussion starters for a book club.
The topic guides include: Feedsack Dresses, Collecting Aprons, A Pet Badger, The Flint Hills of Kansas, and Vintage Motorcycles and Vintage Cars.
There are topic guides for what old-fashioned holidays were like in the 1930s. These include Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween.
The topic guides include ones about towns in the book (Hamilton, Teterville, and Tyro).
Topic Guides for Towns in the Book
- Teterville, Kansas
Teterville, KS is no more, but it lives on in the memories of former residents. Enjoy those stories here, shared by my mother and others. Lots of great vintage photos too of this boom town, now gone.
- Small Town Kansas: Hamilton
My mother graduated from high school in Hamilton, Kansas. That was about all I knew about it, so I did some research. Here's what I found out about this small Kansas town. Perhaps you have links to Hamilton or have heard of it. Please sound the...
- Tyro, Kansas
Few people know of Tyro, Kansas. It's small and well past its heyday. The only reason I know of this now sleepy town is my grandparents grew up there, fell in love and married. That was back before World War I. My mother recently showed me some...
- The Flint Hills of Kansas
Hills in Kansas? Yes, Kansas has the rolling Flint Hills where you'll see tall grass prairie, limestone outcroppings, and a sky that goes on forever. It's in the south-central part of the state. Flint Hills in Summer by MAPASUE I grew up nearby,...
Places in the Book
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Topics Included in My Flint Hills Childhood
» brick making
» catching rabbits
» celebrating Halloween
» Civil War
» conserving water
» decorating for Christmas
» dyeing Easter eggs
» family history for Towers, Vinings, McGhees
» fishing with trotlines
» forming a Sunday school
» glass making
» home remedies
» mad dog
» oil field accident
» oil field camp housing
» pet badger
» picking wild foods and berries
» prairie fires
» rag dolls
» salt gathering
» Saturday at the movies
» scarlet fever quarantine
» school fire
» sewing clothing
» Thanksgiving foods
» wash days
» World War I and World War II
More Topic Guides
- Vintage Cars from My Family Album
In sorting old photos for my mother's book about her childhood in the 1930s, I was intrigued by the pictures of family cars through the decades. I'll share some of these vintage car pictures here with you. You'll see classic cars from as early as...
- My Grandmother Rides a Flanders 4 Motorcycle!
My mom turned up this photo of her mother during my recent visit. I'd never seen it before. Wow, it's hard to imagine my grandmother in the early 1900s on a motorcycle. Take a look at that bike! I love what my grandmother is wearing. Her name was...
- Collecting Aprons
Vintage aprons like grandma used to wear.... It seems a rather humble item to collect, when other people search for rare artifacts or expensive antiques. Aprons combines nostalgia and ease of collecting to make it a growing collectible. My mother...
- A Pet Badger
I'd never think to have a pet as ferocious looking as a badger. They have fearsome claws and are noted for their digging. My mom was given a baby badger back in the 1930s and she raised it and kept it as a pet. She tells some remarkable stories...
- Feedsack Dresses
My 85 year old mom tells about wearing dresses made from feed sack material in the 1930s. People think that sounds terribly quaint, but it was quite common during the Great Depression. People bought chicken feed or flour in large bags of 50 to 100...
Decorate the Table with a Mason Jar
Menu Ideas for the Book Club Meeting
If the book group shares a meal after the book discussion, recreate a 1930s home-cooked meal of fried chicken, biscuits and homemade jam, green beans with a little bacon in with them.
If the group usually just has a dessert, prepare homemade biscuits with sliced strawberries served over them and homemade whipped cream to top it. No, Dream Whip isn't the same as real whipped cream. A different dessert would be baked apples (see the video for making these). If anyone has an ice cream maker, make homemade ice cream and top it with fresh berries.
Decorate the table with a vintage glass canning jar with wildflowers like daisies and goldenrod in it.
Recipes for the Book Club
- Sunday At Grandma's House, Fried Chicken, Cream Grav...
No matter how old I get I still remember Sunday Dinner at Grandma's House. Usually we had fried chicken and the Colonel had nothing on Grandma. She made the best fried chicken in the world.
- The Best Flaky Homemade Biscuits Recipe
Light flaky biscuits are just a click away! Country lovers and city slickers both agree these 5 easy tips make great biscuits.
- Faux Apple Pie - Baked Apple Recipe
Simple baked apple recipe using a Toaster Oven.
- Homemade Ice Cream
Ice cream is the modern descendant of chilled egg custards. Although most of us are used to ice cream as something you just go and get from the freezer section, it can be fun and delicious to make your own homemade ice cream!
Some of Gail Martin's Heritage Recipes
Vintage Photo of Gail Lee Martin
Chapters in the Book
My Flint Hills Daddy
My September Birthday
Jolly Was a Badger
Every Precious Drop
The Prairie Dolls My Mother Made
Our Oil Field Home
Recycling Flint Hills Style
Gone Fishing on the Cottonwood
My Mother Was a Writer
A Family of Readers
I Passed the Eight Grade
Mother's Home Remedies
Mother's Potato Cakes
Saturday at the Movies
Why I Love Horses
Mother's Day Memories
My Family's Patriotic Heritage
Looking Back at Halloween Fun
We Gave Thanks Prairie Style
I Was an Angel Once
Cranberries, Popcorn and Silver Stars
The Day the Mad Dog Came
Family Tree Chart
My Pioneering Great-Grandmother
The McGhee Family History
The Glass Chain
My Civil War Hero
More about the Author
McGhee, Vining, Tower Family Album
Join Gail Lee Martin's Fan Page on Facebook
© 2014 Virginia Allain