The Great American Dust Bowl

by Don Brown

"It fell across our city like a curtain of black rolled down. We thought it was our... read more

"It fell across our city like a curtain of black rolled down. We thought it was our ... doom." Don Brown's informative and affecting graphic novel look at the Dust Bowl examines its causes and effects from the perspective of both science and social history. He covers the geologic history of the Plains, and the changing ways people and animals used the land. When the grasslands were stripped to plant crops to meet the European food shortage during World War I, farmers were living high. Then prices fell, the Great Depression struck, and a drought hit. The stage was set for ecological and human disaster. Brown's writing is straightforward and spare, at times poetic, as he takes readers through the years of the Dust Bowl, sharing dramatic and painful experiences of people who lived during the devastating time. His poignant illustrations are heavily shaded in dusty tones of brown and yellow. Readers can see and feel the heat of the sun and the thickness of the dust, as well as the weight of worry, fear, and despair in the bodies and faces of people and animals alike. A final page spread discusses droughts that have taken place in the Plains since the 1930s (most recently in 2012), and offers a selected bibliography and source notes for quoted material. (Age 10 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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