Monday, March 15, 2010

Dust Bowl Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Helped a National Disaster

Sandler, Martin W. 2009. DUST BOWL THROUGH THE LENS: HOW PHOTOGRAPHY REVEALED AND HELPED A NATIONAL DISASTER. New York: Walker. ISBN 978080279548 [Suggested Grade Levels 4- 8]

The Dust Bowl is known as one of the United States’ greatest tragedies, in which the entire “bread basket” of the nation was devastated. DUST BOWL: THROUGH THE LENS, visually chronicles the lives of the inhabitants of the Great Plains as they try to recuperate from their loss of crops, land, and money. Mind-boggling photos of once-fertile lands reduced to dust inhabit each page, along with highly explanatory, well- written captions to further explain occurrences. The beginning of each passage contains a quote from an inhabitant; some expressing sadness, others hopefulness for the future. The final entries explain the resolution of the nation after the Dust Bowl's end to prevent such an event from occurring again.
Sandler tells an extraordinary tale through the use of black and white photos taken by revolutionary photographers of the era, that blends together history, science, sociology, and art. Factual narrations and quotes from inhabitants of the area are supported and cited in the extensive bibliography, which makes this book an invaluable resource for research. The Dust Bowl is painful for many to remember, but Sandler creates an atmosphere that acknowledges pain, while hope still takes the upper hand.

Readers can create a journal entry based on a photograph taken during the Dust Bowl. Using factual data and emotional content, readers can explore the truth conveyed in the photo and translate into words through their journal entry.

Other books for children about the Dust Bowl:
Cooper, Michael. DUST TO EAT: DROUGHT AND DEPRESSION DURING THE 1930s. ISBN 9780618154494
Marrin, Albert. YEARS OF DUST. ISBN 9780525420774

By Brandi D. Grant

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