Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman

Bibliographic Citation: Freedman, Russell. Children of the Great Depression. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 118p. ISBN: 978-0-61844-6308.

Awards/Selection Lists:

ALSC Notable Book, 2002-2012

Author’s Website:

No website


Author Russell Freedman gives readers a glimpse into the lives of children living during the Great Depression. The book includes photographs by noted photographers such as Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, and is enhanced by first-hand accounts.

Personal Reaction:

In Children of the Great Depression, author Russell Freedman provides readers with a sketch of what life was like for American children living during the Great Depression. He uses first-hand accounts as well as photographs by renowned photographers like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Marion Post Wolcott to tell this story. The book explores Depression-era family dynamics, housing, school life, child labor, the Dustbowl and westward migration, boxcar kids, and even popular entertainment.

Freedman’s book is a powerful one. The large photographs it contains are stunning and often heartbreaking. One photograph by Marion Post Wolcott, for example, shows a small child with legs deformed by rickets, a disease caused by malnutrition. Despite the grim subject, however, the book is still appropriate for younger readers. Freedman was able to communicate the gravity of the situation without resorting to shock-and-awe tactics. The book’s content is well rounded, covering a wide range of subjects. One chapter that was particularly interesting to me was chapter 6, “Boxcar Kids.” This information was mostly new to me and I found the stories of young people hopping a freight and riding the rails fascinatingly hopeful.

Front Matter:

Dedication page, TOC

Back Matter:

Chapter notes, bibliography, picture sources, index

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