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GREAT DEPRESSION<br>1929-1939

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

GREAT DEPRESSION 1929-1939

Updated November 2011

Picture Books


Cohen, Miriam MIMMY & SOPHIE
Four stories about Mimmy, who is six, and her four-year-old sister Sophie; their momma, poppa, and grandparents, who emigrated from Russia; and their Brooklyn neighborhood during the Depression.
1993 unpaged

Friedrick, Elizabeth LEAH'S PONY
A young girl sells her horse and raises enough money to buy back her father's tractor, which is up for auction, in this story of a Depression era farm.
1996 unpaged

Gonzalez, Lucia THE STORYTELLER'S CANDLE
1929. During the early days of the Great Depression, New York City's first Puerto Rican librarian, Pura Belpré, introduces the public library to immigrants living in El Barrio and hosts the neighborhood's first Three Kings' Day fiesta.
2008 unpaged

Lied, Kate POTATO:
A TALE FROM THE GREAT DEPRESSION

During the Great Depression, a family seeking work finds employment for two weeks digging potatoes in Idaho.
1997 unpaged

McLachlan, Patricia WHAT YOU KNOW FIRST
As a family prepares to move away from their farm, the daughter reflects on all the things she loves there so that when her baby brother is older she can tell him what is was like.
1995 unpaged

Stewart, Sarah THE GARDENER
A series of letters relating what happens when, after her father loses his job, Lydia Grace goes to live with her Uncle Jim in the city, but takes her love for gardening with her.
1997 unpaged

Rubel, David THE CARPENTER'S GIFT
A Christmas Tale About the Rockefeller Center Tree
In Depression-era New York City, construction workers at the Rockefeller Center site help a family in need - a gift that is repaid years later in the donation of an enormous Christmas tree.
2011 unpaged


Beginning-to-Read

Turner, Ann DUST FOR DINNER
Jake narrates the story of his family's life in the Oklahoma dust bowl and the journey from their ravaged farm to California during the Great Depression.
1995 62 p.


3rd and 4th Grade

Adler, David THE BABE AND I
While helping his family make ends meet during the Depression by selling newspapers,a boy meets Babe Ruth.
1999 unpaged

Booth, David THE DUST BOWL
A long, dry spell prompts Matthew's grandfather to recall the events of the 1930s when he and his wife hung on to the family farm through the terrible years of the great drought and a plague of grasshoppers.
1997 32 p.

Cohen, Miriam MIMMY & SOPHIE
ALL AROUND THE TOWN

Six endearing short stories detail the experiences of two sisters growing up in Brooklyn in the time of Shirley Temple movies and trolleys.
2004 68 p.

Delton, Kitty KITTY FROM THE START
Kitty moves to a new neighborhood and eventually makes a successful transition into her new third-grade.
1987 141 p.

Delton, Kitty KITTY IN THE MIDDLE
First love, a madcap mix-up at a stranger's wedding, and exploring a mysterious old house are some of the experiences that make fourth grade exciting for three friends.
1979 135 p.

Fitz-Gibbon, Sally LIZZIE'S STORM
After Lizzie is left orphaned, she is sent to live with her aunt and uncle on their dusty 1930s prairie farm a continent away from London. She doesn't fit in until she must do something to rescue her aunt in a dust storm.
2004 67 p.

High, Linda A CHRISTMAS STAR
1997 unpaged

Hurst, Carol Otis ROCKS IN HIS HEAD
A young man has a lifelong love of rock collecting that eventually leads him to work at a science museum.
2001 unpaged

Levinson, Riki BOYS HERE - GIRLS THERE
1993 101 p.

Mandrell, Louise JONATHAN'S GIFTS
1992 unpaged

McDonough, Yona THE DOLLHOUSE MAGIC
During the Depression, sisters Lila and Jane, intrigued by the beautiful dollhouse they see in a house window, befriend its elderly owner and ultimately have a very different Christmas.
1996 unpaged

Moss, Marissa ROSE'S JOURNAL
THE STORY OF A GIRL IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Rose keeps a journal of her family's difficult times on their farm in Kansas during the days of the Dust Bowl in 1935.
2001 unpaged

Myers, Anna RED-DIRT JESSE
1992 107 P.


5th Grade and Up

Bornstein, Ruth BUTTERFLIES AND LIZARDS, BERYL AND ME
In 1936, 11-year-old Charlotte and her mother move to tiny Valley Junction, Missouri, where Charlotte befriends an eccentric old woman in spite of her mother's and others' warnings.
2002 144 p.

Burch, Robert CHRISTMAS WITH IDA EARLY
Sequel to: Ida Early comes over the mountain
Ida Early, who keeps house for the Sutton family in rural Georgia during the Depression, becomes the unwitting target of the children's matchmaking schemes during the holiday season.
1983 157 p.

Burch, Robert IDA EARLY COMES OVER THE MOUNTAIN
Tough times in rural Georgia during the Depression take a lively turn when spirited Ida Early arrives to keep house for the Suttons.
1980 145 p.

Capote, Truman THE THANKSGIVING VISITOR
A boy recalls his life with an elderly relative in rural Alabama in the 1930's and the lesson she taught him one Thanksgiving Day about dealing with a bully from school.
1995 unpaged

Carter, Dorothy GRANDMA'S GENERAL STORE
THE ARK

In the 1930s when their parents go north to Philadelphia to find work, five-year-old Pearl and seven-year-old Prince must stay behind with their grandmother in Florida and help her run her small store.
2005 135 p.

Chipman, Liz FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE
In 1938, thirteen-year-old Louise Bloom tries to figure out what caused her mother to leave her, her three brothers, their father, and the lighthouse on the Hudson River that they call home.
2004 193 P.

Cochrane, Patricia PURELY ROSIE PEARL
1996 135 P.

Curtis, Christopher Paul BUD, NOT BUDDY
2000 Newbery Award Winner
Bud holds all the remnants of his once loving home in a cardboard suitcase as he walks from Flint to Grand Rapids, Michigan in search of a man he believes to be his father. Many people lend a hand especially a labor union leader who finds Bud hiding at the side of the road.
1999 245 p.

DeFelice, Cynthia NOWHERE TO CALL HOME
When her father kills himself after losing his money in the stock market crash, 12-year-old Frances, now a penniless orphan, decides to hop aboard a freight train and live the life of a hobo.
1999 200 p.

Ducey, Jean THE BITTERSWEET TIME
1995 109 p.

Durbin, William THE JOURNAL OF C.J. JACKSON: A DUST BOWL MIGRANT
My Name is America
A Dear America book
April 1935. 13-year-old C.J. records in a journal the conditions of the Dust Bowl that cause the Jackson family to leave their farm in Oklahoma and make the difficult journey to California, where they find a harsh life as migrant workers.
1999 245 p.

Grote, JoAnn ANNA'S FIGHT FOR HOPE
The Great Depression
1931. During the Great Depression, twelve-year-old Anna and her cousin Fred witness much hunger, poverty and despair, and decide to help those in need.
2004 141 p.

Hale, Marian THE TRUTH ABOUT SPARROWS
12-year-old Sadie promises that she will always be Wilma's best friend when their families leave drought-stricken Missouri in 1933, but once in Texas, Sadie learns that she must try to make a new home, and new friends, too.
2004 260 p.

Hesse, Karen OUT OF THE DUST
1998 Newbery Award winner
In a series of poems, 15-year-old Billie Joe relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.
1997 227 p.

Hoobler, Dorothy DIRECTIONS
The 1930's
The Century Kids

In the summer of 1936, Tony runs away from his home above his family's Italian restaurant in Chicago, while in Berlin, David is present at the Olympics and prepares to move to America.
2000 149 p.

Horvath, Polly THE HAPPY YELLOW CAR
1994 151 p.

Janke, Katelan SURVIVAL IN THE STORM
THE DUST BOWL DIARY OF GRACE EDWARDS
Dear America
series
A 12-year-old girl keeps a journal of her family's and friends' difficult experiences in the Texas Panhandle, part of the "Dust Bowl," during the Great Depression.
2002 169 p.

Karr, Kathleen THE CAVE
As drought and the Depression are on the verge of driving her family's South Dakota farm to ruin, 12-year-old Christine discovers a wonderful secret: a vast, unexplored cave in the nearby foothills, which has a secret of its own.
1994 165 p.

Koller, Jackie French NOTHING TO FEAR
When his father moves away to find work and his mother becomes ill, Danny struggles to help his family during the Great Depression.
1991 279 p.

Laskas, Gretchen Moran THE MINER'S DAUGHTER
Sixteen-year-old Willa, living in a Depression-era West Virginia mining town, works hard to help her family, experiences love and friendship, and finds an outlet for her writing when her family becomes part of the Arthurdale, West Virginia, community supported by Eleanor Roosevelt.
2007 250 p.

Lasky, Kathryn CHRISTMAS AFTER ALL
The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift
Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932
In her fictionalized journal, 11-year-old Minnie Swift recounts how her family dealt with the difficult times during the Depression and how the arrival of an orphan from Texas changed their lives in Indianapolis just before Christmas 1932.
2001 153 p.

Lyon, George BORROWED CHILDREN
1988 154 p.

Newell, Karen IN THE SHADOW OF THE PINES
1935. Nine year old Alfred and his family live as sharecroppers in the pine woods of East Texas. Plagued by poverty and hunger, the family also faced illness and land disputes. Should the children work to help buy food for one more day as their father insits? Or should they go to school as their mother wants in order to gain a better future? As circumstances continue to get worse, the family is evicted and moves to a tent in the woods. There an unexpected change awaits them.
2011 168 p.
Pearson, Gayle THE COMING HOME CAFE
In the summer of 1933, fearing that the Depression will never release its stranglehold on her family, 15-year-old Elizabeth Turnquist leaves to ride the rails from town to town looking for work.
1988 197 p.

Peck, Richard LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO
During the recession of 1937, 15-year-old Mary Alice is sent to live with her feisty, larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois and comes to a better understanding of this fearsome woman.
2000 130 p.

Peck, Richard YEAR DOWN YONDER
This 2001 Newbery award winning sequel to LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO brings us back to Grandma Dowdel who rules the town in rural Illinois where she lives. Set in the late 1930s, hard times still prevail here. Joey, the older grandchild, is working in a CCC camp but Mary Alice has come to stay with her grandmother for a year while her parents give up their home.
2000 130 p.

Ray, Delia GHOST GIRL
A Blue Ridge Mountain Story
Eleven-year-old April is delighted when President and Mrs. Hoover build a school near her Madison County, Virginia, home but her family's poverty, grief over the accidental death of her brother, and other problems may mean that April can never learn to read from the wonderful teacher, Miss Vest.
2003 216 p.

Recorvits, Helen GOODBYE, WALTER MALINSKI
in 1934, even though life is hard for Wanda Malinski and her family, she enjoys school, good times with her best friend, and a special relationship with her older brother.
1999 85 p.

Ryan, Pam Muanoz ESPERANZA RISING
Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.
2002 266 p.

Snyder, Zilpha Keatley CAT RUNNING
When 11-year-old Cat Kinsey builds a secret hideout to escape her unhappy homelife, she slowly gets to know a poor family who have come to California after losing their home in Texas to the dust storms of the 1930's.
1994 168 p.

Swain, Gwenyth CHIG AND THE SECOND SPREAD
Despite her small stature, eight-year-old Chig makes large contributions to her southern Indiana community during the Great Depression.
2003 199 p.

Taylor, Mildred LET THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN
1977 Newbery Winner. The Logan family owns some land and is respected by others in the African American community but the violence that surrounds them is an ever-present threat. Cassie's innocence is shattered when she makes her first visit to town.
1976 276 p.

Taylor, Mildred MISSISSIPPI BRIDGE
During a heavy rainstorm in 1930's rural Mississippi, a ten-year-old white boy sees a bus driver order all the black passengers off a crowded bus to make room for late-arriving white passengers and then set off across the raging Rosa Lee River.
1976 276 p.

Taylor, Mildred ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY
1977 Newbery Winner. The Logan family owns some land and is respected by others in the African American community but the violence that surrounds them is an ever-present threat. Cassie's innocence is shattered when she makes her first visit to town.
1976 276 p.

Taylor, Mildred SONG OF THE TREES
While Cassie's father, David, is away laying tracks on a railroad in Mississippi, the children see a group of white men marking their beloved trees to chop. Mr. Andersen offers Cassie's grandmother $65 for an unspecified number of trees to cut. She reluctantly takes it, to her daughter-in-law's chagrin. Stacey is sent to Louisianna to bring Papa home to save their trees. He arrives just in time. Set in Mississippi. Based on a true story that happened to the author's family.
1975 48 p.

Uchida, Yoshiko A JAR OF DREAMS
Eleven-year-old Rinko grows up in a closely-knit Japanese American family in California during the Depression, a time of great prejudice.
1981 131 p.

Willis, Patricia THE BARN BURNER
In 1933, while running from a a bad situation at home and suspected of having set fire to a barn, 14-year-old Ross finds haven with a loving family, which helps him make an important decision.
2000 196 p.

Yee, Paul BREAKAWAY
Life during the Depression is an uphill battle for 18-year-old Kwok-ken Wong. When he's not slogging through chores on his family's struggling farm, he is studying hard to try to win a university soccer scholarship. Vancouver, 1930's.
1996 unpaged