August 4, 2015

Book Review: The Great Depression for Kids by Cheryl Mullenback

Title: The Great Depression for Kids (with 21 Activities)
Author: Cheryl Mullenbach

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live during the Great Depression? Perhaps you think of the stock market crash of 1929, unemployed workers standing in breadlines, and dust storms swirling on the Great Plains. But the 1930s were also a time when neighbors helped neighbors, librarians delivered books on horseback, and an army of young men rebuilt the nation’s forests, roads, and parks. The Great Depression for Kids provides a balanced and realistic picture of an era rife with suffering but also deep-rooted with hope and generosity. Beginning with a full chapter on the 1920s, the book provides important background knowledge to help set the stage for an in-depth look at the decline of the economy and attempts at recovery over the next decade. Twenty-one hands-on activities invite young history buffs to understand and experience this important era in American history. Kids can recreate Depression glassware; simulate a windstorm; learn how to research, buy, and sell stocks; design a paper block quilt; play “round ball”; and much more. 

A while back I was offered the book World War 1 for Kids, so when I was offered this book in the series I wanted to see how it compared.  I had a history teacher help me review the WWI book, but with it being summer I wasn't able to do that this time!  So this is just from me as an English teacher.  

I liked the book.  I thought there was definitely stuff in it that teachers could use.  It starts before The Great Depression so kids get an understanding of what led up to what happened in the country.  I thought that was very important to do, because it gave a more complete understanding to the topic.  That well rounded coverage of the topic continues throughout the book.  There were chapters on urban life, rural life, the New Deal and growing up.  Each one provides a different perspective of life in America during this time.  The only thing I would've like a little more of was the stories of minority groups.  The book definitely touches on this, but I would've liked more.  

One of my favorite sections was on ways they still managed to find fun during this time.  It showed that even in difficult times we still search to find a reason to laugh or smile.  I think that would be good for kids to see and understand.  Plus it would really give them a good perspective when compared to their lives now.  

The activities throughout the book were good.  Like the teacher who reviewed the WWI book said, some would be very difficult to do with a group of students in a classroom.  They might be something you use to differentiate for students who are ready for a challenge.  

I will be passing this book on to the history teachers in my building to use when they teach The Great Depression.  I believe they will find parts they can use for sure.

Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.  

1 comment:

  1. I love the books Chicago Review Press puts out for kids. I will definitely be checking this one out as well. Thanks for telling me about it.