Another book I picked up at NCTE is The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan. In 1937 Kansas, 11-year-old Jack Clark comes face to face with the horrors of the Dust Bowl. His small town is faced with extraordinary choices related to the outcomes of the Dust Bowl... including this eery look at "dust dementia" and the choices related to survival when the entire landscape was changing. The illustrations in this graphic novel draw the reader into a time that fewer and fewer Americans remember experiencing. Jack "sees" the effects of the Dust Bowl--in strange and frightening ways.
I was immediately pulled into this book.. the barns, the rabbit drives, the wind, the mystery, the uncontrollable dust permeating the very souls of the people experiencing it. I picked this book up at the Candlewick Press booth (why am I never disappointed by a book from this publisher?) and was blown away (pardon the pun). Perhaps because both my father and my sister (who is now 81) shared their Dust Bowl experiences with me.
I can see boys in 5th or 6th grade loving this book and perhaps even investigating more and more about this important aspect of American life in the 1930s.