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Free Printable for The Train They Call the City of New Orleans

The Train They Call The City of New Orleans

By Steve Goodman and Michael McCurdy

This post has a free printable for the children’s book of the song, Train They Call The City of New Orleans. This story is historical fiction and includes a CD of the song.  People who read this book to children will find things in the story to either highlight, ignore, or discuss. The illustrator does an excellent job of using a Lionel train set given to him by his father to draw the train cars in this story.  The illustrations are stunning.  Anyone who had a family member work with or save train sets will relate to the illustrations.  The CD has the story track with signals for turning the page, and a track without the sounds. Either way, there are many train sounds, and when the train passes by cows there is even mooing!   The song is sung by Tom Chapin.

The appearance of the cars and clothing of the people help children understand the book is from a different time period, the olden days as some people say.  Things to highlight include trains used to be a way for families to travel and not everyone could drive or have a car.  Do the children notice mothers holding babies and the absence of car seats or baby carriers?  Old fashioned cars are easy for children to recognize from the film CARS.  They even know what a Hudson car is, which was something that was forgotten for many decades.  The children may think riding at night would be exciting, and may notice some people had sleeping bunks and some didn’t.  The “pass the bottle” line would probably not be too noticed by children, but be aware the illustration includes a brown paper bag.  There is also one in the Johnny Cash YouTube video, link below.  The gambling and cigarette could also be skipped-over unless the children notice, but they may not.  You may want to gently guide some discussion about the references to “old black men” and “the sons of Pullman Porters” if your children or students are old enough to start learning about civil rights.  This book could become an entire history lesson or enjoyed as a song.

My free PDF (photos of pages below):

The Train They Call the City of New Orleans work page and answer key PDF

On this page, students trace the route of the train from New Orleans to Chicago. If you don’t happen to have the book on hand, the information could be looked up.
Free Printable for The Train They Call the City of New Orleans

On this page, the students number the states in order for the train ride.

Free Printable for The Train They Call the City of New Orleans

Happy reading, Carolyn