Historical Fiction: The Great Depression


[Part of an ongoing series of historical fiction book lists for students and teachers. For the full list and to see more info, click here.]

Lower Grades (K-3)

  1. Angels in the Dust-Raven (4.2/0.5)
  2. The Babe and I-Adler (3.2/0.5)
  3. Born and Bred in the Great Depression-Winter (no level)
  4. Don’t Forget Winona-Peterson (2.8/0.5)
  5. The Dust Bowl-Booth (3.8/0.5)
  6. Dust for Dinner-Turner (2.4/0.5)
  7. Finding Daddy-Harper (no level)
  8. The Gardener-Stewart (3.9/0.5)
  9. Hannah’s Way-Glaser (2.4/0.5)
  10. Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth-Burleigh (2.0/0.5)
  11. Lucky Beans-Birtha (4.0/0.5)
  12. The Lucky Star-Young (4.6/0.5)
  13. The Man Who Walked the Earth-Wallace (3.4/0.5)
  14. Mimmy and Sophie All Around Town-Cohen (2.9/0.5)
  15. My Heart Will Not Sit Down-Rockliff (4.4/0.5)
  16. Nobody Owns the Sky-Lindbergh (3.8/0.5)
  17. Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression-Lied (3.0/0.5)
  18. Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression Era Story-Mackall (4.3/0.5)
  19. Saving Strawberry Farm-Hopkinson (3.4/0.5)
  20. Sky Boys-Hopkinson (5.0/0.5)
  21. What You Know First-MacLachlan (3.3/0.5)

Middle Grades (4-8)

  1. Agnes May Gleason-Duey (4.9/4)
  2. Al Capone Shines My Shoes-Choldenko (3.8/9)
  3. Anna’s Fight for Hope: The Great Depression-Grote (4.1/5)
  4. Aunt Mary in the Granary and Other Prairie Stories-Comstock (6.9/8)
  5. Bad Times, Big Crimes-Keene (4.0/4)
  6. The Barn Burner-Willis (4.9/6)
  7. The Best Bad Thing-Uchida (4.9/4)
  8. Bird in a Box-Pinkney (4.2/6)
  9. Black Duck-Lisle (4.8/8)
  10. Blue Willow-Gates (6.5/6)
  11. Blind Bess, Buddy, and Me-Tolliver (4.0/3)
  12. Borrowed Children-Lyon (3.6/4)
  13. The Bread Winner-Whitmore (4.1/5)
  14. Bud, Not Buddy-Curtis (5.0/8)*
  15. The Castaways: A Graphic Novel-Vollmar (3.6/1)
  16. Cat Running-Snyder (5.6/7)
  17. Children of the Great Depression-Freedman (7.5/2) NF
  18. Chig and the Second Spread-Swain (5.5/6)
  19. The Circuit-Jimenez (5.3/4)
  20. A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner-Blundell (5.3/6)
  21. Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky-Appelt (6.4/1) NF
  22. Dust-Slade (4.6/6)
  23. Echo-Ryan (4.9/13)
  24. Empire Dreams-Wax (4.5/3)
  25. Esperanza Rising-Ryan* (5.3/6)
  26. Family Tree: Better to Wish-Martin (4.7/7)
  27. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Letters from a Mill Town Girl-Winthrop (6.2/4)
  28. Frenchtown Summer-Cormier (6.4/1)
  29. Ghost Girl: A Blue Ridge Mountain Story-Ray (5.4/7)
  30. The Gold Train Bandits-Roddy (5.1/7)
  31. Goldie’s Fortune: A Story of the Great Depression-Holub (3.4/2)
  32. Growing Up in the Great Depression: 1929 to 1941-Ruth (5.9/1) NF
  33. Hard Times: A Story of the Great Depression-Antle (3.4/1)
  34. Hear That Whistle Blow-Schraff (5.0/3)
  35. High Country Ambush-Roddy (5.1/7)
  36. Intruders at Rivermead Manor: A Kit Mystery-Reiss (4.9/4)
  37. A Jar of Dreams-Uchida (5.0/4)
  38. The Journal of C. J. Jackson: A Dust Bowl Migrant-Durbin (5.7/5)
  39. Kit Learns a Lesson: A School Story-Tripp (4.5/2)
  40. Kit’s Home Run-Tripp (3.9/0.5)
  41. Kit’s Tree House-Tripp (4.6/1)
  42. Kit Saves the Day: A Summer Story-Tripp (4.4/1)
  43. Leaving Gee’s Bend-Latham (4.5/7)
  44. A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt-DeYoung (4.7/3)
  45. A Long Way from Chicago-Peck (5.0/5)
  46. The Luck of the Buttons-Ylvisaker (4.5/4)
  47. Meet Kit, an American Girl-Tripp (4.5/2)
  48. The Mighty Miss Malone-Curtis (4.7/10)
  49. The Miner’s Daughter-Laskas (5.5/9)
  50. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Diary of Bess Brennan-Denenberg (6.0/4)
  51. Moon Over Manifest-Vanderpool (5.3/12)
  52. No Small Victory-Crook (4.5/8)
  53. Nothing Is for Free-Sorenson (3.0/2)
  54. Nowhere to Call Home-DeFelice (5.3/7)
  55. On the Blue Comet-Wells (4.7/8.0)
  56. Out of the Dust-Hesse* (5.3/3)
  57. The Overland Escape-Roddy (4.8/7)
  58. Poor Is Just a Starting Place-Wyatt (5.1/5)
  59. Pop Bottles-Roberts (4.1/2)
  60. A Prairie Boy’s Summer-Kurelek (5.6/1)
  61. A Prairie Boy’s Winter-Kurelek (5.7/1)
  62. Purely Rosie Pearl-Cochrane (5.2/5)
  63. R My Name Is Rachel-Giff (3.7/4)
  64. Really Truly Ruthie-Tripp (5.2/2)
  65. Red-Dirt Jessie-Myers (4.2/3)
  66. The Rescue Adventure of Stenny Green, Hindenburg Crash Eyewitness-Ransom (2.9/0.5)
  67. Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange-Partridge (7.0/3)* NF
  68. Risky Chance-Hart (4.2/2)
  69. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry-Taylor (5.7/10)
  70. Rosa Takes a Chance: Mexican Immigrants in the Dust Bowl Years-Miller (4.2/5)
  71. Rose’s Journal: The Story of a Girl in the Great Depression-Moss (4.8/1)
  72. Saving Grace-Cummings (4.9/8)
  73. Secret Signs-Guest (4.9/3)
  74. The Sky Is Falling-Corcoran (4.4/7)
  75. The Spirit Catchers: An Encounter with Georgia O’Keeffe-Kudlinski (4.4/6)
  76. The Storm in the Barn-Phelan (2.3/0.5) (Graphic Novel)
  77. Strawberry Hill-Hoberman (3.8/5)
  78. Summer on the Run-Belgue (4.0/3)
  79. Survival in the Storm: The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards-Janke (6.4/6)
  80. Tennyson-Blume (5.1/7)
  81. Tough Times-Meltzer (4.5/6)
  82. The Train Jumper-Brown (4.3/4)
  83. Treasures in the Dust-Porter (5.3/4)
  84. The Truth About Sparrows-Hale (5.0/8)
  85. Turkey John-Whitworth (5.5/7)
  86. Turtle in Paradise-Holm (3.7/4)
  87. What the Moon Said-Rosengren (4.2/7)
  88. Who’s Jim Hines-Elster (3.8/3)
  89. William S. and the Great Escape-Snyder (5.6/7)
  90. Winter Cottage-Brink (no level)
  91. The Wonder of Charlie Anne-Fusco (4.7/8)
  92. The Worst of Times: A Story of the Great Depression-Collier (4.8/5)
  93. A Year Down Yonder-Peck (4.5/4)
  94. A Year in the Life of Rosie Bernard-Brenner (no level)
  95. The Year of the Sawdust Man-LaFaye (4.6/10)
  96. Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl-Marrin (7.4/4) NF

Middle Grades+ (6+)

  1. Dust Girl-Zettel (4.6/10)
  2. Hitch-Ingold (5.1/8)
  3. A Time of Troubles-Van Raven (4.1/6)

Upper Grades(9-12)

  1. Airfield-Ingold (5.2/5)
  2. The Boxcar Kid-Miller (no level) (graphic content)
  3. Duane’s Depressed-McMurtry (6.5/22)
  4. Extra Innings-Peck (5.4/5)
  5. The Grapes of Wrath-Steinbeck (4.9/25) Also a movie.
  6. Her Father’s Daughter-Poupeney (4.8/8)
  7. Jim the Boy-Earley (5.1/7)
  8. No Promises in the Wind-Hunt (5.6/8)
  9. Nothing to Fear-Koller (4.2/8)
  10. A Place to Belong-Crofford (5.3/4)
  11. Seabiscuit: An American Legend-Hillenbrand* (7.5/21) (great depression to 1957) Also a movie.
  12. A Shell for Angela-Lachtman (4.8/10)
  13. Six Days in October-Blumenthal (7.9/5) NF
  14. Young Lonigan-Farrell (5.7/10)

Photo Courtesy of Arthur Rothstein

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