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1950's

KEY: jP = Picture Books; jZ = 1st and 2nd Grade Readers; jE = 3rd and 4th Grade Readers; JF = 5th Grade and Up

1950's

updated February 2015


Picture Books

Dempsey, Kristy and Floyd Cooper A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT
A young girl growing up in Harlem in the 1950s, whose mother cleans and stitches costumes for a ballet company, dreams of becoming a prima ballerina one day, and is thrilled to see a performance of Janet Collins, the first "colored" prima ballerina.
2014 unpaged

Isadora, Rachel LUKE GOES TO BAT
1951. Luke is not very good at baseball, but his grandmother and sports star Jackie Robinson encourage him to keep trying.
2005 unpaged

Stewart, Sarah THE QUIET PLACE
Set in the 1950's. The story of young immigrant Isabel, who misses her family and friends back in Mexico while decorating a large box as a place of quiet contemplation and encountering new experiences, including a first snowstorm and a kind teacher.
2012 unpaged


Beginning-to-Read Books


3rd - 4th Grade Books

Beard, Darleen THE FLIMFLAM MAN
In the summer of 1950, a con man comes to Wetumka, Oklahoma, telling about his fabulous circus, and although he swindles the townspeople, two young girls grow from the experience.
1998 85 p.
Bildner, Phil THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED
1957. When their favorite baseball team, the New York Giants, move to California, Sam and Pop switch their loyalties to the other New York Giants and attend their championship game against the Baltimore Colts.
2006 unpaged
Birtha, Becky GRANDMAMA'S PRIDE
This moving and inspiring story, based on real events of the 1950s, is about racial segregation in the south and the big events that were happening there. A historical note is included.
2005 32 p.
Bowdish, Lynea BROOKLYN, BUGSY, AND ME
In 1953, 9-year-old Sam moves with his mother from West Virginia to Brooklyn and finds that his grandfather, a well-liked neighborhood character nicknamed Bugsy, does not seem to want him in his life.
2000 84 p.
McKissack, Patricia GOIN' SOMEPLACE SPECIAL
In segregate 1950's Nashville, a young African American girl braves a series of indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town: the public library.
2001 unpaged
Miller, William THE BUS RIDE
A black child protests an unjust law in this story loosly based on Rosa Parks' historic decision not to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.
1998 unpaged


5th Grade and Up Books

Belton, Sandra ERNESTINE AND AMANDA
Although they do not like each other at first, two girls who take piano lessons from the same teacher, share friendship with twin sisters, and have their own personal problems each gradually find their feelings about the other changing.
1996 149 p.
Belton, Sandra ERNESTINE AND AMANDA
Members of the C.L.U.B.
Ernestine and Amanda, two African-American girls growing up in the 1950s, don't get along but can't quite hate each other either, as they start a new school year filled with sleepover parties, new clubs, and surprising new friends.
1997 161 p.
Belton, Sandra ERNESTINE AND AMANDA
Mysteries on Monroe Street
Ernestine and Amanda, two African-American twelve-year-olds growing up under segregation in the 1950s, are brought together when the all black dance studio where they take lessons is attacked by vandals.
1998 153 p.
Belton, Sandra ERNESTINE AND AMANDA
Summer Camp, Ready or Not!
Ernestine and Amanda, two African-American girls growing up in the 1950s, go away to different summer camps and make discoveries about what they can expect from themselves and other people.
1997 168 p.
Belton, Sandra ERNESTINE AND AMANDA
Summer Camp, Ready or Not!
Ernestine and Amanda, two African-American girls growing up in the 1950s, go away to different summer camps and make discoveries about what they can expect from themselves and other people.
1997 168 p.
Blakemore, Megan Frazer THE SPY CATCHER OF MAPLE HILL
1953.Hazel Kaplansky and new student Samuel Butler investigate rumors that a Russian spy has infiltrated their small Vermont town, amidst the fervor of Cold War era McCarthyism, but more is revealed than they could ever have imagined.
2014 312 p.
Cameron, Ann THE SECRET LIFE OF AMANDA K. WOODS
Living in a rural community in Wisconsin during the 1950s, eleven-year-old Amanda gradually and painfully learns a lot about herself, her parents, and her older sister.
1999 201 p.
Hamilton, Morse THE GARDEN OF EDEN MOTEL
In the early 1950s, eleven-year-old Dal accompanies his stepfather Mr. Sabatini on a business trip to a rural community in Idaho, where Dal makes new friends and becomes involved in a scheme involving a uranium mine.
1999 154 p.
Hayes, Joe GHOST FEVER
Set in a small Arizona town, this is the story of a haunted house with such a bad reputation that its owner has to lure his new tenants-- a father and his fourteen-year-old daughter-- with six months of free rent.
2004 89 p.
Hearne, Betsy LISTENING TO LEROY
Growing up in rural Alabama in the 1950ís, 11-year-old Alice has no one to talk to but Leroy, the black farm hand, but when Aliceís doctor father moves the family to Tennessee, she has trouble fitting in and sorely misses Leroy.
1998 210 p.
Holt, Kimberly MY LOUISIANA SKY
Growing up in Saitter, Louisiana, in the 1950s, twelve-year-old Tiger Ann struggles with her feelings about her stern, but loving grandmother, her mentally slow parents, and her good friend and neighbor, Jesse.
1998 200 p.
Holm, Jennifer As she turns twelve during the summer of 1953, Penny gains new insights into herself and her family while also learning a secret about her father's death. 2006 274 p.
Hoobler, Dorothy THE 1950'S: MUSIC
Century Kids series
In the 1950s Matthew befriends a Negro boy who introduces him to the new music, and together they start a rock-and-roll band.
2001 159 p.
Jenkins, Lyll Becerra THE HONORABLE PRISON
1955 Latin America. Because of the moral stand taken by her father, a newspaper editor who has persistantly attacked the military dictator ruling their Latin American country, Marta and her family find themselves prisoners of the government.
1988 199 p.
Johnson, Lindsay Lee WORLDS APART
1959. A 13-year-old daughter of a surgeon finds herself wrenched away froma comfortable lifestyle to a home on the grounds of a mental hospital, where her father has accepted a five-year contract.
2005 166 p.
Kadohata, Cynhtia KIRA-KIRA
In her first novel for young readers Kadohata creates a lyrical story of two Japanese sisters growing up in Georgia in late 1950's. When one sister becomes terminally ill, the other must help herself and her family look to the future.
2004 244 p.
Lamstein, Sarah HUNGER MOON
In 1953 in Chicago, Ruth struggles to deal with her parents' constant arguing, taking care of her younger brothers, one of whom is mentally disabled, and getting along in middle school.
2004 109 p.
Levine, Ellen CATCH A TIGER BY THE TOE
1953. In the Bronx, New York, during the McCarthy era, twelve-year-old Jamie keeps a terrible secret about her family, but when the truth is exposed, her parents lose their jobs and she is fired from the school newspaper.
2005 192 p.
Levine,Kristin THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK
1958. Two girls separated by race form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958. Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn't have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear - speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family. But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn't matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.
2012 291 p.
Lyon, George Ella SONNY'S HOUSE OF SPIES
In a small Alabama town in 1947-1956, Sonny searches for answers about his father's disappearance, "uncle Marty, who looks after the family, and Mamby, their black housekeeper.
2004 298 p.
Recorvits, Helen WHERE HEROES HIDE
During the summer of 1956, ten-year-old Junior Webster, his friends, and especially his father, a decorated World War II veteran, discover what heroism is all about.
2002 135 p.
Rosen, Sybil SPEED OF LIGHT
An 11-year-old Jewish girl living in the South during the 1950s struggles with the anti-Semitism and racism which pervade her small community. 1956.
1999 169 p.
Smith, James THE BOYS OF SAN JOAQUIN
In a small California town in 1951, 12-year-old Paolo and his deaf cousin billy get caught up in a search for money missing from the church collection, leading them to complicated discoveries about themselves, other family members, and townspeople they thought they knew.
2005 231 p.
Snyder, Zilpha Keatley THE RUNAWAYS
Dani O'Donnell is stuck in the middle of the desert, in 1951, in gruesome Rattler Springs, Nevada. She knows the desert hates her, and she hates it right back. All she wants to do is get home to California, but she and her mother are too broke to move. One day in April, just before her 13th birthday, Dani decides to run away. But before she can get anywhere, 9-year-old Stormy decides he's going too.
1999 245 p.
Taylor, Mildred THE GOLD CADILLAC
1950. Two black girls living in the North are proud of their family's beautiful new Cadillac until they take it on a visit to the South and encounter racial prejudice for the first time.
1998 43 p.
White, Ruth BELLE PRATERíS BOY
Everyone in Coal Station, Virginia, has a theory about what happened to Belle Prater, but 12-year-old Gypsy wants the facts, and when her cousin Woodrow, Aunt Belleís son, moves next door, she has her chance. October 1953.
1996 196 p.
White, Ruth MEMORIES OF SUMMER
In 1955, 13-year-old Lyric finds her whole life changing when her family moves from the hills of Virginia to a town in Michigan and her older sister Summer begins descending into mental illness.
2000 185 p.
White, Ruth THE SEARCH FOR BELLE PRATER
A sequel to Belle Prater's Boy
In 1955, Woodrow and his cousin Gypsy befriend a new girl in their 7th grade class in rural Virginia, and the three of them set off to find Woodrow's missing mother, encountering unlikely and intriguing coincidences alon the way.
2005 170 p.
White, Ruth TADPOLE
In rural Kentucky in 1955, Serilda Collins, single mother of four lively girls, discovers that her orphaned nephew is being subjected to brutality.
2003 198 p.