East Texas, the 1930s—the Great Depression. Award-winning author Jonah Winter's father grew up with seven siblings in a tiny house on the edge of town. In this picture book, Winter shares his family history in a lyrical text that is clear, honest, and utterly accessible to young readers, accompanied by Kimberly Bulcken Root's rich, gorgeous illustrations. Here is a celebration of family and of making do with what you have—a wonderful classroom book that's also perfect for ...
East Texas, the 1930s—the Great Depression. Award-winning author Jonah Winter's father grew up with seven siblings in a tiny house on the edge of town. In this picture book, Winter shares his family history in a lyrical text that is clear, honest, and utterly accessible to young readers, accompanied by Kimberly Bulcken Root's rich, gorgeous illustrations. Here is a celebration of family and of making do with what you have—a wonderful classroom book that's also perfect for children and parents to share.
Root’s sun-faded, ink-and-wash drawings make gentle companions for Winter’s (Here Comes the Garbage Barge!) account of his father’s hardscrabble Depression-era childhood. She softens the rough edges and sees the beauty of the East Texas country where Grandpa Winter lives with his wife and eight children. Directly addressing his father in second-person narration, Winter pulls no punches about the humiliation Grandpa Winter faced to keep his family fed (“Some mornings... he had to run a footrace against other men like him./ If he won, that meant he got to work that day”); Root (Whatever Happened to the Pony Express?) shows Grandpa Winter crossing the finish line a stride ahead of the other men. “But you’ve also said/ you never went hungry,” Winter recalls, as Root draws the family gathered around a table spread with vegetables from the garden. There’s time for fun, too, such as a trip to the icehouse in the old Model T. Winter’s writing is thoughtful and deeply felt. Root’s portraits of the boy’s solitary exploration convey the force of Winter’s message about “learning to love those things/ that didn’t cost a single penny.” Ages 5–9. (Oct.)
- Kris Sauer
Want to know what it was like to live in East Texas, during the Great Depression, as the youngest of eight children? Then look no further than this nonfiction tale, a story lovingly told about the author's father and his life as a young boy. A good corollary to the struggles of many families today, this historical picture book tells, with grace and honesty, a story of hard times. Families of the era struggled, and scrimped, and saved, and were usually too proud to take a government handout. But like Granma and Grandpa Winter in this story, they got by despite great odds, growing their food and raising chickens on the edge of town, next to the railroad tracks, where the poor people lived. Grandpa Winter got work sporadically at the lumber mill, some days having to win a foot race to earn the privilege of working that day. The text spins tales of barefoot children, finding amusement in things that cost nothing, in treasures found in the woods, in listening to stories told by hoboes stopping by to chop wood and get a bite to eat in return. Actual family photos on the end page beautifully complement the wonderful illustrations throughout. Few books as aptly paint the picture of an era as this one does. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
The book manages to be melancholy without being sad…Born and Bred in the Great Depression is…deeply engaging on an emotional level. Root's old-fashioned pencil, ink and watercolor illustrations…work well with the text.
—The New York Times Book Review
JONAH WINTER is the author of Here Comes the Garbage Barge!, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book; Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World; and Dizzy, the recipient of five starred reviews and Best Book of the Year citations from Booklist, School Library Journal, Horn Book, The Bulletin, and Kirkus Reviews. He also wrote Roberto Clemente, Diego, and more.
KIMBERLY BULCKEN ROOT was born in York, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Connecticut and South Carolina. She is the award-winning illustrator of over 30 children's books, including Papa's Bedtime Story by Marly Lee Donovan, a Silver Medal winner in the Society of Illustrators' Children's Book Original Art Exhibition. When the Whippoorwill Calls by Candice F. Ransom was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. Hugh Can Do and The Toll-Bridge Troll were both named ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Books. Birdie's Lighthouse won a Parents' Choice Honor Award and was a Bulletin Blue Ribble Books.