While in Powell's, one of the books I didn't purchase, but wrote in my notebook as a must have is Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin. I've talked to my oldest sister, Joy, about the Dust Bowl and I've always been intrigued by her recollections.
In the 1930s, dangerous storms of dust that Marrin calls "the worst environmental disaster in American history," swept through the great plains of the United States (including the southeastern tip of Colorado). Drought and farming practices caused the dust storms that plagued farmers, small communities, and families across the plains. From prairie ecology to relating the Dust Bowl to some of our current environmental issues, Marrin has put together a wonderful collection in this piece... a nice mix of narrative, facts, sidebars, wonderful photographs, etc.
It's a great cousin text to Timothy Egan's adult text The Worst Hard Time. The Worst Hard time is a powerfully written book about the storms that terrorized the plains in the Depression years, a dark and dreary time in our history. It follows families and their communities through the good times and bad times of this horrible time. The story Egan tells is a more detailed account of what Marrin is explaining to children in Years of Dust.
My sister remembers her mother plunging sheets in water and hanging them in the windows at night... only to find mud puddles in the sills in the morning. Both these books describe the destructiveness of The Dust Bowl... one specifically written with children in mind and one specifically for adults.
I will definitely be purchasing a copy of Albert Marrin's book for my collection... it tells an important story of our country's history.