As I mentioned in my last post, Cynthia Rylant's story was inspired by a real train, the "Santa Special" which rolls through the Appalachian Mountains each Christmas season.
From this train, tons of toys and treats are tossed by volunteers to the children of coal towns who wait patiently by the tracks. This has been happening every Christmas since 1943.
|Photo still from TIME Magazine|
You can read more about the real train here, on AppalachianHistory.net.
And there's a free unit study for Silver Packages from the website Homeschool Share, here.
Want to learn more about Appalachia? Look for a second book by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Barry Moser: Appalachia, The Voices of Sleeping Birds.