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The Great American Dust Bowl

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,661 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence.

On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America's high southern plains.

The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains der
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Jan 16, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
This is a short, quick, easy read, a history lesson in the most attractive packaging imaginable. Brown's text is simply presented, but thoroughly researched. I loved that he had the scientific explanations for the dust storms as well as first hand accounts. And I was delighted to see that he did cite his sources at the end. I don't always see this in adult nonfiction, much less a middle grade graphic novel.

But the art is going to be the star for most readers, including me. The cover is absolute
Concise, well-researched, and easy-to-understand, this excellent graphic novel captures the horrible devastation of the Dust Bow catastrophe. A must have for classroom and school libraries.
Mar 07, 2014 Raina rated it liked it
Great nonfiction piece on what the dust bowl actually was. Brown talks about the environmental things that happened to make the world dusty, and talks in detail about the effects on the people living in the Midwest at the time.

His illustrations, though often grim, are aesthetically pleasing, and clean and clear. Many take the form of infographics.

He doesn't get down to personal stories, really. He's more focused on the more general experiences of people as a whole, and the macros of the situat
Nov 27, 2013 katsok rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant graphic novel detailing the history of the Dust Bowl. I think I'll pair panels of it with passages from Out of the Dust.
Edward Sullivan
A brilliant, dramatic, graphic chronicle of America's worst environmental catastrophe.
Richie Partington
Aug 23, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie's Picks: THE GREAT AMERICAN DUST BOWL by Don Brown, Houghton Mifflin, October 2013, 80p., ISBN: 978-0-547-81550-3

"As I lay me down to take my rest
I see that it's just dust in the wind"
-- Mark "Moogy" Klingman (1950-2011)

"The plain bordering the Rockies, despite its flatness, is still more than a thousand feet above sea level. It is a dry place: it receives no more than twenty inches of rain and snow a year, about half of what Georgia, Maine, or Oregon gets.
"Bison found the grass. Herds g
Fascinating informational graphic novel, with lots of historical factoids to interest young students as well as adults. For example, the fact that the dust storms generated so much electricity in the air that cars would short out and die; or that the dust even extended out to sea, where "a fine grit covered ships' decks like powdered sugar on doughnuts" (43). I just read a novel set during the Great Depression and wanted to learn a bit more about the Dust Bowl. This neat little book did not disa ...more
Denice Hein
Apr 15, 2015 Denice Hein rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Intermediate Selection:

1. Story plot is easy to follow, Don Brown uses flashback and revisits historically significant events leading up to the American Dust Bowl. I believe this will help students make connections to other events they may or may not have studied completely yet. However, if this graphic novel is being used in a classroom, the teacher may have to decide if these events are worthy of full studies. It is unfortunate the curricula do not align (at least in Lincoln) for this American

Don Brown's graphic novel, The Great American Dust Bowl does a fantastic job of laying out the facts about the time in our country's history when the Dust Bowl was at its worst. He lays the foundation for the events by explaining the geology of the region, dating back to the creation of the Rocky Mountains, along with the ecological effects on the region as first the Native Americans and later the settlers lived on the land. He also explains the economic and historical significance of this time

Valerie Barnhart
Apr 16, 2015 Valerie Barnhart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
1) This text is a nonfiction graphic novel about the events during the Dust Bowl. The plot is easy to follow and the panels are creatively illustrated. This would be a remarkable book to use for researching the topic. The story is easy to understand with the explanation of the changes in land preservation and developments from the ranching to farming of the soil. The larger pictures guide the reader to focus on issues of economy, erosion, effects on people and animals, and life during these diff ...more
Jul 05, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it
I'm currently reading The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham about using mentor texts to teach writing. I think this book by Don Brown would be a great mentor text not only for teaching writing, but also to incorporate into an interdisciplinary unit--it's got history, science, art, narrative ... all sorts of things to talk about! It was a pretty gloomy read, but then again, the Dust Bowl isn't exactly a cheerful topic. I did not like the tone of how the first pioneers were presented compared with the ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
If you were drawn in by the cover art, like I was, you will not be disappointed. The illustrations are just mesmerizing. It's not a story, it's a history lesson but the subject matter is riveting. The dust storms of the "dirty thirties" are the subject but Brown gives a nice, concise background of the U.S. Plains and how the environment plays a great, sometimes devastating, role in human lives.
Some of Brown's sentences were confusing; they had a tendency to run on and use conjunctions that didn
There's nothing better than a book that in which you learn something or many somethings. This graphic novel taught me so much about the science behind dust storms and also the devastation that it cause that was not only to people and things, but the damage it cause to wildlife as well as tales about what would bring the rain, but like the recent book about the Irish famine that I read, I also didn't realize how long the dust storms lasted (nearly a decade) AND that they sometimes continue to kic ...more
Exceptional accounting of a devastating event in our country's history. The graphic format makes it accessible to readers who might not be as willing to pick up a typical informational book on the subject. The back matter includes a thorough listing of source notes and selected bibliography. This would be paired well with Phelan's Storm in the Barn and Birney's Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs.

Jan 02, 2015 Bethe rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Great presentation of facts in a graphic novel format, excellent use of color and spacing. I love how the speech bubbles are actual quotes annotated in the back matter, very well researched. I learned a lot about this time period and area. Kids in Texas will be able to relate to the drought and dust storms, they sometimes even reach Dallas! I said WOW when I got to the end and turned the page to the actual photos of the 1930s and recent storms.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jan 26, 2014 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
I’m always drawn to this story, the story of the American Great Depression. It shaped my dad and mom and my parents’ generation, forming habits of thrift and care amid desperate times of worry and despair. I couldn’t pass up this new graphic novel for older children. And I’m glad I didn’t. Great American Dust Bowl uses startling pictures and words to share the story of that bleak time. Excellent.
This book was displayed in our school library with other new nonfiction books. I don't read a ton of informational nonfiction, but this one caught my eye. It explains the dust bowl in a way that's very easy to understand, and I think the format of a graphic novel is perfect for the information the author is providing. A quick, very informative read. I learned a lot.
Skylar Halley
I thought it was really good because I learned some things from it that I didn't know about the dust bowl. It was quite dramatic, but that made it good. I liked the pictures because combined with the words they made you feel the struggle the people went through as if you were going through it too.
Ms Threlkeld
A fascinating graphic novel about the events leading up to the creation of the Dust Bowl and the effects of all those dust storms so many years later. This book would pair well with The Grapes of Wrath. Appropriate for middle and high school.
Amanda Northrup
Mar 07, 2015 Amanda Northrup rated it really liked it
An excellent nonfiction book in pseudo graphic novel form. I loved the way the author set the dust bowl in historical context all the way back to plate tectonics. I only wish there had been more. I plan to pair it for those students who read Out of the Dust.
Emily Northcutt
Excellent non-fiction presentation of a topic that tweens and teens may not be familiar with. Beautifully illustrated and engaging. This would partner well with Karen Hesse's "Out of the Dust". Highly recommended!
Carrie Shaurette
Feb 04, 2016 Carrie Shaurette rated it really liked it
The setting here is so vivid that I could practically taste the dust as I read. This reminded me a lot of Drowned City, which I liked better, but more because of story than style.
Dec 08, 2015 Cleo rated it really liked it
Overview of the dust bowl. Whetted a thirst to consider taking time for The Worst Hard Times by Egan and Burns'/Duncan The Dust Bowl.
Kris Marley Patrick
Add this to a mysteriously large canon of children's literature related to the Dust Bowl.

Feb 16, 2014 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Perfect book for BIS. So many curriculum connections & it's graphic novel. Loved every page.
Lindsay Coleman
Jul 01, 2016 Lindsay Coleman rated it really liked it
Thought this was a children's picture book and it is not.
Madi Miller
It was really interesting and sad. I would hate to live where the people in the dust bowl lived
Ariel Caldwell
Oct 20, 2016 Ariel Caldwell rated it liked it
Great combination of art (spare, brooding, swirling) and narration (quotes from survivors, information from scholarly sources). I knew the basics of the Dust Bowl, but during and after reading this book, I felt the situation in a new way. Choking to death on flying dirt? I never quite considered that. Flying dirt that reached the east coast of the USA? I had no idea.
Rachel Rooney
Oct 27, 2016 Rachel Rooney rated it really liked it
A great graphic nonfiction book about the causes of the dust storms of the "dirty thirties" and the devastation that resulted from them.
Kevin Summers
Oct 12, 2016 Kevin Summers rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Sample quote: "Rainmakers promised that they could coax water from the heavens--for a price."
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him "a current pac
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