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Years of Dust

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  222 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Before global warming, there was dust. In the 1930s, dangerous black storms swept through the Great Plains. Created by drought and reckless farming, these lethal storms were part of an environmental, economic, and human catastrophe that changed the course of American history. In riveting, accessible prose, an acclaimed historian explains the causes behind the disaster and ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 20th 2009 by Dutton Books for Young Readers (first published July 9th 2009)
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The critical and trying time in black and white photos made this read worth the $2.00 I paid for it. The author doesn't focus solely on the Dust Bowl though and at times I wandered.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this in the 'graphic novel' YA section of the library and was immediately intrigued. This book is FABULOUS. There are pictures on every page which are interesting, amazing, beautiful, and sad. Albert Marrin really made history come alive with this book, and I look forward to reading more from him. I rarely give out 5 stars, but I am with this one. I learned SO MUCH and recommend this book to EVERYONE from about fifth grade through adults!

"This book aims to tell the story of the Dust Bowl
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-nonfiction
Another outstanding NF text from Albert Marrin--Years of Dust explains the conditions that caused the Dust Bowl in the 1930's and how it affected people and animals. I appreciate the focus on conservation and efforts to prevent more dust bowls in regions like the Sahel. Extensive bibliography and a glossary of terms in the back.
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rll-539
Albert Marrin is well known for depicting history and he nailed it in his book "Years of Dust." This is a picture book intended for grades 5 and up about the day the dustbowl hit the Great Plains in the United States. His first chapter is entitled "Darkness At Noon" and immediately would catch the attention of any middle schooler who might start out by thumbing through. This book includes a timeline, a map of the Great Plaines, realistic illustrations that portray the Native American population ...more
Rebecca Sherod
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
‘Years of Dust’ by Albert Marrin is a fun and interesting book to read about the dust bowl. The book, beginning with a short story of a reporter, grabs the reader’s attention and holds it. Each page is filled with pictures or maps that help inform and explain what was happening during the dust bowl and quotes and first hand explanations are given throughout the book.
The overall layout provides a relatively easy way to find what you’re looking for, and the reader can constantly enjoy the first
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
This fascinating story of the Great Dust Bowl is a gripping account of life in those terrible times. With succinct details and stirring pictures, the author paints a picture of hopelessness and despair, of a people who lost everything and yet, for the most part, still persevered. The author clearly explains just how the dust bowl years were man-made, by the practices of settlers and farmers who didn’t realize the doom they were creating. Meant as a book for juveniles, this book nevertheless has ...more
I grabbed this from the library because I enjoyed Albert Marrin's Flesh & Blood So Cheap, and Years of Dust did not disappoint.

Years of Dust is well-written, straight-forward, and filled with fantastic photographs. It is impressive how Marrin consistently manages to put all of the details into perfect context. This story doesn't start at the beginning of the Dust Bowl, it starts decades earlier with all of the information required to fully understand the situation, as well as follow up infor
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
A dark cloud rolls in, blotting out the sun. It’s noon, but it could just as easily be midnight. It’s April 14, 1935: Black Sunday, the day of one of the worst dust storms to ever hit the Great Plains. The Dust Bowl was no natural disaster, though; the Plains survived for centuries before our agricultural practices ruined the land. This is the story of how we did it—and how families survived it.

**Reading through some non-fiction selections for 9th-grade booktalks. I think this can have some appe
Nikki Horne
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Years of Dust by Albert Marrin is a great book for middle school-aged children! It gives information about things that occurred during this time that one might not always include when talking about the dust bowl. This book even gives an explanation of ecology and how the dust bowl happened. It provides great background to the story, which I think could be easily overlooked. I think this is an important part of his boo because it helps one to better understand not only what happened during the du ...more
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Long before all the talk of Global Warming, there was a Historical event that brought farming in the United States to its knees…..the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. This event was cataclysmic not only environmentally but also economically because it occurred simultaneously with the Great Depression. Through poignant images and accessible language, the author makes it clear that this event, which spanned almost a decade in time, was not a natural disaster, but rather a man-made one. He further points o ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
(Non-fiction selection)

This non-fiction book would be a great reference book for any class 7th-12th grade studying the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Through it's use of stunning large format black and white photographs (present on almost every other page) it brings to life events many students in urban areas may have trouble imagining. Organized in nine parts, the book covers a wide variety of subjects including the history of the Great Plains, the Dust Bowl and its causes, getting by duri
Dec 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
For the most part, the photographs and illustrations in the book are terrific.

But, as a work of nonfiction, it falls short of being credible. I learned about the book via a discussion I was participating in on SLJ (on the Heavy Medal blog).

Marrin cites a passage attributed to Chief Seattle, but, it is not actually Seattle who wrote that passage (and speech).... It's also in BROTHER EAGLE SISTER SKY---but---it is actually a speech written for a made-for-TV movie in the 70s. Marrin cited Gore fo
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
For nearly a decade, enormous dust storms rolled across the Great Plains, earning the 1930s the nickname "The Dirty Thirties." The largest drought in U.S. history combined with misuse of the land by man caused a disaster that deeply affected the U.S. Farmers couldn't get crops to grow, and many families were plunged into extreme poverty. Some migrated to other parts of the country, hoping to make a fresh start; others stayed put, hoping desperately for rain.

While Marrin does provide information
Mary Kloser
May 22, 2016 rated it liked it
I think that this book would be most appealing to people who want to learn about the dust bowl and the history of it. I would not recommend this book to someone who is not interested in this topic at all. When I first picked up the book I was only slightly interested. I started reading this book thinking it was going to be a bit more interesting than it was. There was a lot of information about before, during, and after the dust bowl. Even though there were a lot of facts and information about t ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Informational/Fictional text:
This text has amazing photographs from the time. It utilizes maps, art from that time period, quotes, timelines, and many gorgeous photographs to help understand the disaster of the Dust Bowl. This book breaks down its information into nine categories that explains what happened, why it happened, and the outcome while also looking into the future. It does contain a lot of text and while it is easy to understand and it is interesting, it definitely would be hard for
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-420
Years of Dust is a beautifully done informational book on the Dust Bowl years of America. Marrin logically and candidly explains the factors that contributed to this man-induced ecological disaster as well as the political and physical attempts made to ease and end the disaster. Filled with the well known photographs of Dorthea Lange and others, the book is a fabulous lesson into the history of American Greed and ignorance and a warning to be aware and take care of the land.
Belma Sarajlic
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“This is my second Informational Book.”

Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin. This book contains some wonderful information about dust that swept through the Great Plains. The waves of the dust that buried homes, barns, crops and damaging much more that came it’s way such as people and the live stock. People during this time struggled to survive the disaster that came their way. In addition, this book contained a lot of information and it’s super rich with images from that t
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
Again, my disclaimer about not being a non-fiction fan...However, author Albert Marrin does an excellent job of captivating the reader in this informative tale of the Dustbowl years. Marrin explains how the decimation of the buffalo, the introduction of cattle ranching, and later, farming all contributed to the desertification of this once fertile land. Young people will appreciate the words defined in context, and the moving sepia toned photos and text insets. Marrin concludes by examining curr ...more
Anna Kozlowska
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I chose “Years of Dust” by Albert Marrin as one of my informational texts. The author shows the causes of the Dust Bowl using exquisite photographs from the time era and explains the implications by describing people’s contributions to the changes of the Great Plains. It seems that people changed the land of the Great Plains with their business, farming and home expansion that lead to the Dust Bowl along the Great Depression. This informational text could be used as a primary source in a history ...more
May 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Years of Dust by [author Albert Marrin] is a visually effective look at the Dust Bowl years in the US. It examines the Great Plains, the reasons behind the Dust Bowl, attempts to mitigate unemployment through the New Deal, and modern potential Dust Bowls and possible solutions. The photographs, many taken by Dorethea Lange, along with posters, graphs and Woody Guthrie lyrics, add greatly to understanding the period and problems faced by plains farmers and residents.

This could be used in America
Mar 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
While an interesting and fresh take on The Dust Bowl (environmental/ecological approach rather than historical), it is disjointed, at times overly complex and at other times overly simplified. A picture of Chief Seattle on one page has no connection to the text-- his quote appears 3/4s of the way down on the next page. What???? The book tries to tie in world wars, internment camps, the Bible, Native Americans, and several other events/people/sources that are not clearly connected to The Dust Bow ...more
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
As always, Marrin gives good information on and explanation of a complicated situation. He covers the ecological and social aspects of the Dust Bowl and ends with accounts of other trouble spots in today's world. While I can't comfortably read about the government's role in addressing the problems ("some of which resulted from other, earlier government intervention," Nigel reminded me), I was amazed at the conditions in which the people affected lived and their ability to survive and keep going. ...more
Sharon Dillon
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this for week 10 information texts

This book contains incredible photographs from the dust bowl. I did not find the text interesting, I was only drawn to the photographs. It helped me understand the dust bowl after I read Out of the Dust. These photographs are incredible and help the reader understand the devastating effects of the dust. I don't know how anyone survived such a catastrophe and decide to stay. It breaks my heart to think of the mothers and fathers trying to care for their ch
Mar 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
While an interesting and fresh take on The Dust Bowl (environmental/ecological approach rather than historical), it is disjointed, at times overly complex and at other times overly simplified. A picture of Chief Seattle on one page has no connection to the text-- his quote appears 3/4s of the way down on the next page. What???? The book tries to tie in world wars, internment camps, the Bible, Native Americans, and several other events/people/sources that are not clearly connected to The Dust Bow ...more
Annie Oosterwyk
Albert Marrin has been one of my favorite authors ever since Oh Rats: The Story of Rats and People. He has a way of presenting history so that it makes sense and is interesting. To give the proper perspective on the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, Marrin devotes a chapter to land use as it transitioned from Native American to settler. He includes political and social history and also details the special ecology of the plains and how it is destroyed by the need and greed of the homesteaders and ranchers. ...more
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was helpful background information after reading The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan. The pictures are awe-inspiring, especially the ones where the whole horizon is this towering black cloud about to swallow a town. The text really focused on the human causes of the Dust Bowl (such as slaughtering the buffalo, raising cattle, and digging up the deep-rooted grasslands to plant crops). What was most depressing about this is that we are still doing the same sorts of destructive things today, ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a great book. This is a wonderful resource for middle schoolers and high school students wanting to learn more about the Dust Bowl. The book is also an excellent book to teach research skills because it is very well documented and can act as a visual model for students learning how to document their visual, print and digital resources. The book comes with recommended book lists, citations, timelines and lots of original copies of photographs taken during the Dust Bowl. I am very impressed w ...more
The Reading Countess
The startling pictures and captions alone, nevermind the pages packed with information about the events that led up to, during and after what was one of the worst nature disasters (caused by man) of the 20th century would be cause enough to purchase Years of Dust. With the additional impetus to add it to my shelves after having read Bud, Not Buddy and Out of the Dust as read alouds this year, though, I intend to point out informational text features (in particular the strength and importance of ...more
Anastasia Tuckness
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, c2009
This book is really designed to show how the Dust Bowl arose out of specfic agricultural practices and policies, and how it could happen again.

The middle third is very interesting, with details about that historical era and its people--more photographs than I thought existed from that time period.

The other sections seemed too broad and sweeping to be understandable or meaningful.

Better as a environmental warning or weather pattern type book than a history book.
Gwen the Librarian
Dec 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The well-chosen archival photographs of the Dust Bowl are the real stars of this book. I liked the approach the author took explaining the environmental causes of the Dust Bowl, then the history leading up to the crisis in the 1930's and how it affected people, then what humans are doing now around the world that could cause more Dust Bowls. The tone and pace of the text were not outstanding, thus my rating.
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Albert Marrin is a historian and the author of more than twenty nonfiction books for young people. He has won various awards for his writing, including the 2005 James Madison Book Award and the 2008 National Endowment for Humanities Medal. In 2011, his book Flesh and Blood So Cheap was a National Book Award Finalist. Marrin is the Chairman of the History Department at New York's Yeshiva University ...more
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