The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown


NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


The Great American Dust Bowl
Author and Illustrator: Don Brown
Published October 8th, 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence.

On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America’s high southern plains.

The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow—people got lost in the gloom and suffocated . . . and that was just the beginning.

Don Brown brings the Dirty Thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel of one of America’s most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.

Review: Ever since I read Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, I’ve loved learning about this scary time in American history (also, the danger hasn’t ceased just because it happens less often). This book does a beautiful job of taking this time in history and laying it out for the reader so that it is very easy to understand. It includes background about the geographical area, information about the Depression, and then takes you through the Dust Bowl all the way to modern days. So interesting!

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: First, this book will make a great companion to Out of the Dust. I think many readers struggle with Hesse’s book because they don’t have the background knowledge needed to understand the book and Don Brown’s book gives all the background needed.  The Great America Dust Bowl can also be used as a resource when teaching the Dust Bowl, the depression, or agriculture.

Discussion Questions: How did the Depression impact farmers thus help cause the Dust Bowl to happen?; How is the problems of the Dust Bowl still impacting us today?

We Flagged: 

Read This If You Loved: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan, Survival in the Storm: The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards, Dalhart, TX 1935 by Katelan Janke

Recommended For: 

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