Children of the Dust Bowl (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Children of the Dust Bowl (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.5 4
by Jerry Stanley

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Describes the plight of the migrant workers who traveled from the Dust Bowl to California during the Depression, how they were forced to live in a federal labor camp and the school that was built for their children.


Describes the plight of the migrant workers who traveled from the Dust Bowl to California during the Depression, how they were forced to live in a federal labor camp and the school that was built for their children.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This book tells the stories of children of Oklahoma families who migrated to California in the 1930's and 40's. It begins with poignant, vivid and unforgettable descriptions of the hopelessness of their lives before, during, and after their arrival. One person writes of running out of food en route to California. The kids waited for the adults to share the coffee and then took up spoons to eat the coffee grounds. Beaten down by starvation, disease and widespread prejudice, the children turn despair around by building their own school. Ownership and pride give them hope. In the words of one student, "This is what we are now, but it's not what we're going to be." And for most of them, this prophecy proved true. Photo and journalistic documentation combine with a powerful writing style to make this an inspiring, 78-page nonfiction read aloud.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-- Stanley has crafted a well-researched, highly readable portrait of the ``Okies'' driven to California by the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s and the formidable hardships they faced. After first detailing the desperation of their lives in the Midwest, he follows them on their trek across the western United States to the promise of work in California, where their hopes were dashed. After providing this thorough, sympathetic context of their plight, he zeroes in on the residents of Weedpatch Camp, one of several farm-labor camps built by the federal government. The remainder of the book is devoted to educator Leo Hart and the role he played in creating a ``federal emergency school.'' Interviews with Hart and the school's former teachers and pupils make Children of the Dust Bowl useful to students of oral history, as well as of the Depression. A thorough index enhances the research value of the book, although it is interesting enough to enjoy for itself. The book is lavishly illustrated with period black-and-white photographs. An informative and inspirational bit of American history. --Joyce Adams Burner, formerly at Spring Hill Middle School, KS
Stephanie Zvirin
Not all of the 50 period photographs were available at the time of this review, but Stanley's text is a compelling document all by itself, supplying much more than the history of the construction of Weedpatch School that the subtitle implies. The book begins with a vivid account of the "Dirty Thirties," picturing Dust Bowl farmers driven from their homes by "the winds of despair." The first part of the text records the enormity of the Dust Bowl exodus and the migrants' desperate, dangerous journey, with the remainder of the book focusing on the efforts of Leo Hart, who founded Arvin Federal Emergency (Weedpatch) School, and on the group of Okie children who actually built it. Throughout are songs, stories, and comments from individuals who survived to tell of the filth and heat and dust, of the meals of coffee grounds and apple pits, and of the prejudice and poverty encountered in the California promised land. The story is inspiring and disturbing, and Stanley has recorded the details with passion and dignity. An excellent curriculum item.

Product Details

Demco Media
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

* Jerry Stanley was born in Highland Park, Michigan in 1941.  When he was seventeen years old, he joined the air force and was stationed in California, where he has lived ever since.

* Once out of the air force, Jerry went to college, during which time he supported himself as a rock-'n'-roll drummer on the weekends.  He received both his master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arizona.  

* Jerry is now is a professor of history at California State University in Bakersfield, where he teaches courses on the American West, the American Indian, and California history.  In addition to his children's books, Jerry is the author of numerous articles for both scholarly journals and popular magazines.

* Among Jerry's hobbies are bowling, racquetball, fishing, drumming, and writing humor.  He and his wife, Dorothy, have four children and live in Bakersfield, CA.  

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