Children of the Dust Bowl is an outstanding book provides an engaging portrait of the Oakies -- following their journey west, their continuing struggles in California, and finally their daily life as the residents of Weedpatch Camp (a government farm labor camp), where residents created their own 'emergency' school. (The children will love learning about that part!) In a starred review, Booklist said "The story is inspiring, and Stanley has recorded the details with passion and dignity. An excellent curriculum item."
Even if you just use the book for the dust bowl pictures, we think this book is a must have for the classroom. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this book really communicates! When it comes down to it, every teacher of history wants their students to be able to see the human lives involved in a given historical event -- to imagine what it was like to live through that time period and even perhaps be able to put themselves in their shoes. So many of the dust bowl pictures in this book do that. It's really priceless!
Oooh...also, if your class is reading Christopher Paul Curtis's Bud, Not Buddy, this is such a great non-fiction companion text. We think it works best if you read some of the fiction book first, so that the kids "know someone" who lived back then. This helps the kids get a little more 'invested' in the time period, and then... share this book. Their interest will be peaked, and the information will stick!
Level: Grade 6-8
DRA Level: 60
Lexile Measure: 1120
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.5
Guided Reading Level: Y
Read-Aloud vs. Individual Reading:
Some sixth graders will struggle a bit if reading this book independently, as the reading level of this book is where most sixth graders read at in the spring of that school year. They will likely need extra support. Older children should be able to read this book independently.
* American Library Association Notable Children's Book 1993
* Horn Book Magazine Fanfare Award 1993
* California Library Association Beatty Award 1993
* National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Non-Fiction Award 1993
Below are some sample pages from inside this book. As you can see, there are a lot of large dust bowl pictures and there's also (compared to other books on our site) a lot of text.
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