Children of the Great Depression

Children of the Great Depression

4.0 5
by Russell Freedman
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


As he did for frontier children in his enormously popular Children of the Wild West, Russell Freedman illuminates the lives of the American children affected by the economic and social changes of the Great Depression. Middle-class urban youth, migrant farm laborers, boxcar kids, children whose families found themselves struggling for survival . . . all

Overview


As he did for frontier children in his enormously popular Children of the Wild West, Russell Freedman illuminates the lives of the American children affected by the economic and social changes of the Great Depression. Middle-class urban youth, migrant farm laborers, boxcar kids, children whose families found themselves struggling for survival . . . all Depression-era young people faced challenges like unemployed and demoralized parents, inadequate food and shelter, schools they couldn’t attend because they had to go to work, schools that simply closed their doors. Even so, life had its bright spots—like favorite games and radio shows—and many young people remained upbeat and optimistic about the future.

Drawing on memoirs, diaries, letters, and other firsthand accounts, and richly illustrated with classic archival photographs, this book by one of the most celebrated authors of nonfiction for children places the Great Depression in context and shows young readers its human face. Endnotes, selected bibliography, index.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Delivers concrete data with which to create a sense of the times...enhanced by...Freedman's many comparisons." HORN BOOK Horn Book

"Stirring photo-essay...eloquent...[Freedman's] signature plainspoken prose...'convey[s] in human terms the true meaning of economic statistics.'' BOOKLIST, starred Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"Another superb photo-essay by a veteran author. A wonderful, informed, and sympathetic overview...of this period." SLJ, starred School Library Journal, Starred

"Freedman captures the historical scope of young lives during the Great Depression...At once bleak and uplifting." -PW Publishers Weekly

"[A] magnificent volume...Freedman is a master of the photo-essay, and this is one of his best." -KIRKUS, starred Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Plenty of primary-source testimony...Freedman offers an account within the reach and interest of middle-schoolers." -BCCB Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Freedman does an exemplary job of making a disheartening and complicated subject...approachable and engaging...a fantastic resource." VOYA VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Publishers Weekly
Freedman, author of the Newbery Medal-winning Lincoln: A Photobiography, tackles the Great Depression with the same flair as he does in his previous books. He creates a vivid visual picture of what life during the period was like for children with pictures from esteemed Depression-era photographers, such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Russell Lee, and incorporates abundant quotes from real children, including the particularly poignant experiences of African-Americans, who were "the last hired and the first fired." Freedman also lightens the mood with humorous touches, such as one girl's letter to Eleanor Roosevelt in which she requested a loan and "solemnly pledge[d] to pay you back within 2 years." From Hoovervilles-the ramshackle settlements on the outskirts of cities-to migrant families forced out of their homes by a "black blizzard" of dust, to boxcar kids who took to the nation's rails to escape deprivation at home, Freedman captures the historical scope of young lives during the Great Depression. His portrayal is at once bleak and uplifting, painting a picture of children without food because, in the words of one girl, "It's my sister's turn to eat," but also of young Americans determined to survive. The book's final pages assume a sanguine note, reminding readers that these children were courageously optimistic. They found joy in little pleasures, such as the movies and their favorite radio shows, and never stopped believing that that life would be better one day. Ages 9-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
When the stock market crashed on "Black Tuesday" in 1929, the United States spiraled into a major economic depression. Subsequently many families experienced emotional and financial upheaval when their primary breadwinners lost their jobs. Budget cuts forced many schools to operate on a shortened academic calendar or close entirely. Children and adolescents all over the country left school and entered the workforce because it offered their families a supplementary-if not the sole-source of income. Teenagers tried innovative ways to earn extra money during these tight times, such as dance marathons or tree sitting. Others opted to "ride the rails," hoping that the next destination would provide a job or at least a free meal. Freedman, social biographer and author of such works as Immigrant Kids (Dutton, 1980) and Kids at Work (Clarion, 1994/VOYA December 2004), turns his attention to children and adolescents of the Great Depression. His newest addition to his large corpus of work does not disappoint. Freedman does an exemplary job of making a disheartening and complicated subject in American history approachable and engaging. This book is every reluctant reader and procrastinating student's dream come true-large text, wide margins, and many full-page archival photographs, including one of a nude child. The author makes excellent use of primary sources, quotations from oral history projects, and the aforementioned pictures and provides source notes. It is a fantastic resource for reports and casual reading. VOYA CODES: 5Q 3P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005,Clarion, 118p.; Index. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes., $20. Ages 11 to 15.
—Angelica Delgado
Children's Literature
It will be a cold day in a hot place before you read a bad review of a Russell Freedman book. The man is a master of writing nonfiction who, in a career of nearly a half-century, has won every major award. Freedman's latest book explains what life was like for American kids in the 1930s. Many children were poor and homeless. And many did not go to school, often because schools had closed or lacked teachers. It can be an agonizing tale, as with the Okies in California who had to endure public scorn as they scrambled to earn a dollar or two a day. But it is not always a depressing read. Many kids sold newspapers, shined shoes, or did other menial jobs and enjoyed their independence. In a clever touch, Freedman includes a fun chapter on popular movies, music, and radio programs of the 1930s. As with all of Freedman's books, this one is chocked full of sharp and interesting black-and-white photographs. My only quibble is that the list of web sites in the bibliography is anemic. 2005, Clarion/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 9 up.
—Michael L. Cooper
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Few authors are as well suited as Freedman to present a clear and understandable outline of this period. His prose is straightforward and easily comprehensible, making sense of even the complexities of the stock-market crash. The use of primary sources is outstanding. This is a book told by chorus, featuring the voices of those who endured the Depression, and is embellished with black-and-white photos by such luminaries as Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Walker Evans, and Russell Lee. Eight chapters cover the causes of the Great Depression, schooling, work life, migrant work, the lives of children who rode the rails, entertainment, and the economic resurgence of the early '40s. Chapter notes and an excellent bibliography round out another superb photo-essay by a veteran author. A wonderful, informed, and sympathetic overview that perfectly complements Jerry Stanley's Children of the Dust Bowl (Random, 1992).-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this magnificent volume, superb photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn and others help to tell the story of the Great Depression. Every spread includes either a full-page photograph or several smaller shots. Great use is made of letters, diaries and memoirs to tell the story so beautifully complemented by the photographs. Freedman is a master of the photo-essay, and this is one of his best. More wide-ranging than most histories of the era, this tells, in clear and simple prose, the story of dust storms, soup kitchens, Hoovervilles, kids at work, kids on trains, popular culture and the beginning of WWII. Chapter notes are thorough, and the selected bibliography includes some of the best resources for young readers. An excellent companion to other fine photo-essays on the period, such as Elizabeth Partridge's Restless Spirit (1998) and This Land Was Made for You and Me (2002). (picture sources, index) (Nonfiction. 9+)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547480350
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
12/06/2010
Pages:
118
Sales rank:
184,000
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1170L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Delivers concrete data with which to create a sense of the times...enhanced by...Freedman's many comparisons." HORN BOOK Horn Book

"Stirring photo-essay...eloquent...[Freedman's] signature plainspoken prose...'convey[s] in human terms the true meaning of economic statistics.' BOOKLIST, starred Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"Another superb photo-essay by a veteran author. A wonderful, informed, and sympathetic overview...of this period." SLJ, starred School Library Journal, Starred

"Freedman captures the historical scope of young lives during the Great Depression...At once bleak and uplifting." -PW Publishers Weekly

"[A] magnificent volume...Freedman is a master of the photo-essay, and this is one of his best." -KIRKUS, starred Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Plenty of primary-source testimony...Freedman offers an account within the reach and interest of middle-schoolers." -BCCB Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Freedman does an exemplary job of making a disheartening and complicated subject...approachable and engaging...a fantastic resource." VOYA VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Meet the Author


Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for LINCOLN: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, the Sibert Medal, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Children of the Great Depression 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JCRitchie More than 1 year ago
"Children of the Great Depression" by Russell Freedman Review This book is a non-fiction picture book. It tells of how bad the Great Depression was, for the children and the parents. It shows great pictures of children, homes, and towns, of how bad it was in the 30's. This is a sad and overcoming bad times book. It's sad to see all the pictures of the children, and think about how they must have felt. A quote from the book, by a child who wrote a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, " I am always sorry, because I'm still very young and can't help out." It shows children how it use to be, but the families stuck together and came through the depression. JCR3302
wsquared More than 1 year ago
"Children of the Great Depression," written by Russell Freedman is a great source of information about the depression and how it affected the lives of families during the 1920s. The information provided in this nonfiction picture book is essential to completely understanding the full extent of the situation. Included in this book are pictures and comments from children that had to face the reality of having no money, only the clothes on their backs, and barely enough food to get them through the day. Children were malnourished and were riding the line between survival and death. Through pictures and narratives by the author and the traveling photographers, the devastation of the Depression comes to life. The book reveals the harsh reality of children's lives through the depiction of starvation and homelessness. Times were tough for everyone, especially the innocent children, some getting only one meal a day and others sleeping on the streets. Unemployment ravished the communities, which ultimately lead to the inability to provide necessities, including food for the family. While this informational book is upsetting I think that it is a good source of information in order to get an idea about the Depression from a child's perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone interested in this era, this is a must. The pic. are wonderful. It takes you back in time. It reminds me of stories grannie used to tell.