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For Middle-Grade Monday I am adding some history to my MG reading list- Cimarron Girl, The Dust Bowl Years of Abigail Brubaker, by Mike Blanc. I found this one on Netgalley and was immediately interested in learning about a time period in the US I knew nothing about, the Okie years. The nickname given to people fleeing from Oklahoma and the Dust Bowl.
First off, let me just say, YES, this book is worth the read. It details a time of life in the US that many no nothing about. All the feedback I have is from an author's perspective and does not negate the worthiness of the book.
Now, historically I loved it. The end of the book has a look back into history, details about the Great Depression and Dust Bowl years, along with actual pictures of people and events from that time. I came to understand the cause of the Dust Bowl, of farming without leaving root bearing areas. It was top soil that blew across Oklahoma, and with the severe drought, there was no way to keep it down. Also, the graphics and art are wonderful.
The book is written in a diaryesque perspective. Abigail recounts events in her life divided up by years. This is a good way to chronicle events, however it did leave me feeling less of Abby's own voice. Her emotions didn't shine through as I thought they should.
Events in the book do a good job of relating the details of the dust bowl years. Abby tells of the black sand storms, the crop failures, the dangers of traveling among so many who'd lost everything. As a reader and writer, what I would have like to have seen is more happening to Abby or her family. All the bad things that happen, happen to others while she observes. Yes, her family is forced to move, but only after they are able to hang on while others flee. Someone dies in a dust storm, but it is just a boy she barely knows. When they move to California, they are able to get through border security, and because her father is a hard worker, they are able to have money. It would of had more impact on me as a reader to see events adversely affect her and her own.
My last comment, the final chapter is entitled, Return to Cimarron, and that got me excited. I wanted to see how they would rebuild where they left off, but the title is misleading. The third paragraph tells us they never returned to see it, and Abby just details cause and effects of the Dust bowl years.
So, like I said, some pro's and con's, but overall totally worth the read. Kids will get a great deal of information and see how life for someone their own age changed drastically due to the environment. Also, I read the kindle version, I think kids would like the paper version better. So if you can, give that one a try. I'm giving this one 3 stars!