Life During the Great Depression
depictions in children's books

Teaching about life during the Great Depression does not have to be a downer!  Most children's books on the era provide a balanced account--portraying the harsh realities and tremendous sacrifices as well as accounts of compassionate and brave individuals who were determined to survive in this harsh time.

None of the children's books listed below focus entirely on the hardships of the era, and none of the books will leave the reader with a sense of despair and hopelessness. Instead, these 'best books' convey the reality of life during the Great Depression, but also leave the reader better for having read it.

Books on Life During the Great Depression

Potato:  A Tale from
Great Depression

by Kate Lied
Kindergarten - 2nd grade

The Gardener
Caldecott Honoree
by Sarah Stewart
Kindergarten - 2nd grade

Sky Boys
How They Built the
Empire State Building

by Deborah Hopkinson
Kindergarten - 4th grade

The Babe and I
by David Adler
Kindergarten - 3rd grade

Rose's Journal
The Story of a Girl in
the Great Depression
by Marissa Moss
3rd grade - 5th grade

Children of the
Great Depression

by Russell Freedman
4th grade - 8th grade

Rudy Rides the Rails
A Depression Era Story
3rd grade - 6th grade

Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer Holm
3rd grade - 5th grade

Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
5th grade - 8th grade

Long Way from Chicago
Grandma Dowdel series 
by Richard Peck
4th grade - 8th grade

A Year Down Yonder
Grandma Dowdel series 
by Richard Peck
5th grade - 8th grade

Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis
5th grade - 8th grade

Christmas After All
The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift (Dear America)
by Kathryn Lasky
4th grade - 8th grade

Six Days in October
The Stock Market Crash
of 1929

by Karen Blumenthal
7th grade - 12th grade

other books set during the Great Depression

Below are several other well-recommended children's books about the Great Depression. We don't have dedicated review pages for these books because we haven't had a chance to read yet, but we wanted to let you know about them...

To learn more about any of these books, click the book titles to see their listing on Amazon.  Note that if you purchase an item, they give us a small referral fee.

  • American Girl Kit, 1934 by Valerie (Grades 3-6)
  • Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres (Grades 4-7)
  • The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (Grades 4-7)
  • All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky by Joe Lansdale  (Grades 7+)

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