Annotated Bibliography Children’s Books

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Pam Benedon

Annotated Bibliography

Children’s Books:
Alder, David A. (1999). The Babe and I. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace and Company.

This book is directed at the younger boys in grades 1-4. It is based in the summer of 1932 when a young boy find out his dad has lost his job due to the Great Depression and is selling apples on the street. The boy takes it into his own hands to help out his family and in doing so gets to meet the legendary Babe Ruth. This book could be used in an elementary classroom to depict the Great Depression through a child’s eyes.

Gray, Harold (1979). Little Orphan Annie in the Great Depression. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.

This book is actually one long comic strip telling about Little Orphan Annie’s adventures during the Great Depression. This book would be a great addition to an elementary school unit on the Great Depression because it is accessible to the students who prefer their graphic novels and Manga to regular chapter books. Students will learn about the era through pictures and speech bubbles from a child’s point of view.

Lied, Kate (1997). Potato a Tale from the Great Depression. Washington DC: National Geographic Society.

Potato is a book about a young girl, Dorothy, who moved to Idaho with her family to pick potatoes during the Great Depression. Her father was losing one job after another when the family decided to move. This book can be taught to multiple age levels. It is a child’s books with pictures and shorter sentences but it also takes a look at the economics of the depression-era as well the American culture.
Chapter Book:
Curtis, Christopher Paul (1999). Bud, Not Buddy. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.

Bud is a young African American boy who is living in an orphanage when the novel begins. After he is sent out to an abusive foster home Bud decides to run away in search of his father. This novel weaves in information of the Great Depression as well as the added racism the desperation of that time produced in people. This would be a good book to teach about both the Great Depression and racism and acceptance.

Bernanke, Ben S.(2000) Essays on the Great Depression. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

This book would be best used in an upper level high school economics class. It focuses on the experiences of economic strategies and macroeconomics of many nations in the word during the Depression era. It also explains how all these nations combined escalated into the Depression.

Bernstein, Michael A. (1987) New York, NY: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.

This book would also be helpful in a Macroeconomic class in a high school. Bernstein describes how an economy that is constantly changing as much as America’s economy is subject to “stress and imbalances that must, on occasion, surface in events like the Great Depression.” This book concentrates on economy and industries.

Chandler, Lester V. (1970). America’s Greatest Depression 1929-1941. New York, NY: Harper and Row, Publishers.

This book takes a look at the economic implications of the Great Depression and how it affected social and political settings. This is a good research based book for student to look over to gain background knowledge on the Great depression. It would be a great addition to a text set in the classroom.

Cooper, Michael L (2001). Dust to Eat. New York, NY: Clarion Books.

This is a very useful and informative book for grades 7-10. Cooper shows the linkage between he Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The book begins with the stock market crash and trails across the country to the Dust Bowl. This book follows many stories including anecdotes by authors such as John Steinbeck along with genuine photographs of the era. This book gives a wonderful background on how events in our country link together to help students understand their implications.

Elder, Glen H Jr. (1974). Children of the Great Depression Social Change in Life Experience. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Elder’s book is an intriguing account of many people stories growing up during the Great Depression. He follows these people stories from childhood to their coming of age at the beginning of World War II. These are stories of endurance and survival. A very thought provoking book, it would best be used in grades 11-12 to provoke discussion about how these people were just like these students but in a different era.

Freedman, Russell (2005). Children of the Great Depression. New York, NY: Clarion Books.

Freedman used real memoirs, diaries, letters, and other personal accounts. To put together a riveting book about the lives of the children of the Greta Depression. He discusses the true stories of the kids who had to leave school to work or even leave their families to lessen the burden. This would be a good book to use with elementary or middle school students as they students would be able to relate with the kids’ stories in the book.

Stanley, Jerry (1992). Children of the Dust Bowl the True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Stanley’s book covers the venture of migrant workers during the Dust Bowl and Depression to California. It discusses the federal labor camps families were forced to live in as well as the school for the children in the camp. This book could be used for a discussion with middle school children about the comparisons and contrasts of their school and the camp school.

Stein, Conrad (1985). The Story of the Great Depression. Chicago, Il: Children’s Press.

This informative book of the Great Depression is perfect for younger students to explain every event from the stock market crash to the beginning of World War II. It uses simple sentence structures and uses a voice that is easily understood by younger students.

Poppendiek, Janet (1986). Breadlines Knee-Deep in Wheat. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

This book would be helpful for students in grades 11-12 who want to understand the economic implications of the Great Depression. Poppendieck explores how so many people went hungry during this era when the farms were overflowing with surpluses. Because prices were declining farms could not make money and the buyers could not afford to buy off the surplus. This book gives great statistical research on the Great Depression.

Whitt, Anne Hall (1982). The Suitcases. Washington D. C.: Acropolis Book Ltd.

Whitt tells her own true story of her life with her two sisters after the death of her mother. She and her two sisters have been orphaned during the Great Depression era. This book would be a good read for multiple age groups. Every child knows the feeling of feeling all alone. The print and sentences are not too difficult to for younger readers.

Decurtis, Anthony. (1989, May). Dust Bowl Ballads. Rolling Stone Magazine.

This article describes a poet and singer who grew up during the Great Depression and has recorded an album entitled “Dust Bowl Ballads.” His music is described as emotional although he was still able to find the humor in his travels to California to find work. Learning about musicians from that era will give students a new view point of the era. This will also pull in reluctant readers to learn about music.

Kingsbury, Kathleen. (2008, May). Failing Economy Predicts Worse Health. Time Magazine.

This article describes current events that have many similarities to the Great Depression era. This has many implications for the children’s health. During the Great Depression the spiraling economy meant hunger and disease for children now it means a loss of healthcare for them.

Lieshman, David. (1975, June). The Guitar Wizard. Rolling Stone Magazine.

This article will also pull in reluctant readers as well as interest students who are more musically inclined with another artist from the Great Depression era. He used his voice to describe the “anguish” of the Great depression. Learning about the music can give students another reason to want to learn about the Great Depression.

Lovgren, Stefan. (2003, July). From Nag to Riches: The Story of Seabiscuit. National Geographic.

This article is an overview of the story of Seabiscuit a racehorse from the Great Depression era. This horse brought people a break from depression reality to give the people some hope. However, as the depression deepened Seabiscuit’s fame declined until Laura Hillenbrand’s novel came out telling the story of racehorses in the Great Depression. This is an easy read and a good hook to originally get the students interested in the Great Depression.

Schuman, Michael. (2008, September). Wall Street’s Woes Hit Asian Markets. Time Magazine.

This article also shows parallels between the Great Depression and current events. This article discusses how Wall Street’s worst decline in seven years has impacted worldwide nations just as the stock market crash in the 20s and 30 did. Students can learn about the past from current issues which could lead to lively classroom discussion.

Browning, Lynnley. (2009, January 14). Executive Calls ‘30s Housing Solution Superior. New York Times.

Lynnley has written an article which also parallels the Great Depression and current issues. This article is about housing affairs. Critics have said that housing plans from the Great Depression were actually better than steps taken towards the housing crises of today. Reading this article can help students become critical readers and make their own comparisons of current and past events.

Glauber, Bill. (2009, January 13). Hoover Museum Tells a Cautionary Tale. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This article gives a depiction of the museum erected in honor of the first president during the Great Depression era. The museum is a reminder of all the great happenings of the past president and a reminder that even the best leaders may have obstacles thrown in their way. This article can serve a reminder of perseverance for students.

Gup, Ted. (2008, December 22). Hard Times, a Helping Hand. New York Times. N for reluctant

This article is an intriguing read even for reluctant readers. It tells the story of a mystery benefactor during the Great Depression. He gave out $750 to families who otherwise would not have made it through the holiday season of 1933. This article would be a great beginning for a Great Depression unit.

Knowles, Francine. (2008, July 8). A ‘Depression Era kid” Watches Every Penny. Chicago Sun Times.

This article gives a personal story about a woman who grew up in the Great Depression era. She managed to save enough money and raise a family of three kids. This article will teach students about respect for the elder people in our community because they have life events and knowledge and experience to share with students. This could be teamed up with an interview project to get personal stories from the Great Depression.

McIlheran, Patrick. (2009, January 9). Just Like Hoover: Except for Taxes and Infrastructure. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This article is yet another example of the parallels between the Great Depression and current issues. An anonymous write of a letter compares the Republican office to another Republican, Herbert Hoover the last time there was a large economic collapse. Students will be able to make connections to their own lives and real events.


Lovell, Lexi (Producer). (1998). Riding the Rails [Motion Picture] USA.

This movie is a compilation of true stories. These stories are about teenagers surviving on their own during the Great Depression, Many of them survived by jumping freight trains across the country to get from one point to another. Excerpts from this movie could be shown in a high school social studies class to give visuals of what life was truly like for these street teenagers. Kamikaze Bunny

This Youtube cllip would be a great attention getter at the beginning of a unit for the Great Depression. It is a comical yet informational clip about the Great Depression. It opens up the topic at a level that students can understand and relate to.


This site has numerous links to different teaching activities on the Great Depression. The main activity is a “Dear Mrs. Roosevelt” activity. Students can read letters written to the first wife and learn about the Great Depression through the eyes of kids their own age.

This site has many interactive activities as well as video for both students and teachers to view. There are teacher resources to help plan lessons and activities for students to use on their own. It’s very well organized and easy to navigate through.

This site is a wonderful resource for educators. There is a multitude of lesson plan ideas and examples of personal stories, news stories, and biographical sketches about people and events from the Great Depression era.

This seems to be a very trustworthy site as it is written by the Federal Deposit Incorporation. It is a brief timeline through the years of the Great Depression. It is an easy read for younger students but still informative enough for the older students. It is organized very clearly as well.

There is a whole list of useful lesson plans about the Great Depression on this site. It gives ideas on how to link the historical events of the19so to the 21st century and current events. This will be helpful in helping the students relate to the information.

The main highlight of this site is for every link to an article a note taking box pops us to take notes in while reading. In addition you can view images from the time, personal accounts, and lyrics. For each of these a note taking box will appear.

This educational website shares information on many aspects of the great Depression. From personal stories to real images this site gives a full overview of the events. In addition, there is a large variety of external links to other helpful resources on the topic.


This video is a cartoon from the Great depression depicting what happened to a family owned farm when the Great Depression hit it. It illustrates how the farm is falling apart with bits of humor added in. It is a black and white but entertaining enough to catch a students eye.

This video gives more of a factual overview of the Great depression. While the first video is better used for a beginning unit on the Great Depression this second video is a good wrap up for a unit of high school students.


I did not understand just what a webquest was until I looked this over. Now I understand how there are different sets of instructions to complete a task. This webquest gives clear and complete direction on how to find the necessary information. Students will learn a large amount about the Great Depression after completing this webquest.

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