1920s
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Alexander, Lloyd. The Gawgon and the Boy. (Dutton, 2001) 199 pp.
In Depression-era Philadelphia, when 11-year-old David is too ill to attend school, he is tutored by the unique and adventurous Aunt Annie, whose teaching combines with his imagination to greatly enrich his life. (1929)
Avi. Secret School. (Harcourt, 2001) 160 pp.
In 1925, fourteen-year-old Ida Bidson secretly takes over as the teacher when the one-room schoolhouse in her remote Colorado area closes unexpectedly.
Beard, Darleen Bailey. The Babbs Switch Story. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 2002) 165 pp.
In 1924, twelve-year-old Ruthie finds her life in a small Oklahoma town complicated by the behavior of her older sister Daphne, an object of ridicule and dislike because of her limited mental abilities.
Brooke, Peggy. Jake's Orphan. (DK Ink, 2000) 261 p.
When taken from an orphanage to work on a farm in North Dakota in 1926, twelve-year-old Tree searches for a home not only for himself but also for his irrepressible younger brother.
Buchanan, Jane. Hank's Story. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 2001) 144 pp.
Hank, having come west on an orphan train to live with a disagreeable couple on a farm in Nebraska, tries to endure his miserable existence and thinks about running away, as his older brother did.
Dadey, Debbie. Whistler's Hollow (Bloomsbury, 2002) 104 pp.
In 1920, eleven-year-old Lillie Mae, recently orphaned, goes to live with her loving great-aunt and great-uncle in their Kentucky farm house, where she learns the truth about several secrets.
Durbin, William. The Journal of C.J. Jackson: A Dust Bowl Migrant. (Scholastic, 2002) 169 pp.
Thirteen-year-old C.J. records in a journal the conditions of the dust bowl that cause the Jackson family to leave their farm in Oklahoma and make the difficult journey to California, where they find a harsh life as migrant workers. (1930s)
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Berniece Bobs Her Hair
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. (1925)
Franklin, Kristine L. The Grape Thief. (Candlewick, 2003) 290 pp.
It’s 1925 in multiethnic Roslyn, Washington where a twelve-year-old boy has earned the nickname “Cuss” because he can swear in fourteen languages. This coming-of-age story find Cuss shouldering family responsibility much too soon.
Gilbreth, Frank B. Cheaper by the Dozen. (1963)
Hesse, Karen. Witness. (Scholastic, 2001) 161 pp.
A series of poems express the views of various people in a small Vermont town, including a young black girl and a young Jewish girl, during the early 1920s when the Ku Klux Klan is trying to infiltrate the town.
Houston, Gloria. Littlejim's Dreams. (Harcourt 1997) 231 pp.
In 1920 in the mountains of western North Carolina, fourteen-year-old Jim Houston sees his hopes of continuing his education fade when his mother becomes seriously ill and his logger father must deal with the underhanded dealings of outside businessmen.
Karr, Kathleen. Man of the Family. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 1999) 178 pp.
During the 1920s, life for Istvan, the eldest child of a Hungarian-American family, hods both joy and sadness.
Karr, Kathleen. Playing With Fire. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2001) 185 pp.
Greer spends the summer of 1924 at a Long Island seashore mansion, where she helps her psychic mother and a sinister magician conduct seances, and unexpectedly finds new direction for her life.
Kidd, Ronald. Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial. (Simon & Schuster, 2006) 264 p.
When her father hatches a plan to bring publicity to their small Tennessee town by arresting a local high school teacher for teaching about evolution, the resulting 1925 Scopes trial prompts fifteen-year-old Frances to rethink many of her beliefs about religion and truth, as well as her relationship with her father.
Levine, Gail Carson. Dave at Night. (HarperCollins, 1999) 281 pp.
When orphaned Dave is sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys where he is treated cruelly, he sneaks out at night and is welcomed into the music- and culture-filled world of the Harlem Renaissance.
Lisle, Janet Taylor. Black Duck. (Philomel, 2006) 240 pp.
Years afterwards, Ruben Hart tells the story of how, in 1929 Newport, Rhode Island, his family and his best friend’s family were caught up in the violent competition among groups trying to control the local rum-smuggling trade.
Meyer, Carolyn. White Lilacs. (Harcourt 1993) 242 pp.
In 1921 in Dillon, Texas, twelve-year-old Rose Lee sees trouble threatening her black community when the whites decide to take the land there for a park and forcibly relocate the black families to an ugly stretch of territory outside the town.
Morrison, Toni. Jazz. 1992. 229 pp.
Myers, Anna. Tulsa Burning. (Walker 2002) 152 pp.
In 1921, fifteen-year-old Noble Chase hates the sheriff of Wekiwa, Oklahoma, and is more than willing to cross him to help his best friend, a black man, who is injured during race riots in nearby Tulsa.
Peck, Richard. Cowboy Ghost. (HarperCollins, 1999) 200 pp.
Growing up without a mother and with an aloof father on a cattle ranch in Florida in the first part of the 1900s has made Titus very close to his older brother, Micah, and determined to make Micah proud of him when the two go on their first cattle drive together.
Peck, Richard. A Long Way From Chicago. (Dial, 1998) 143 pp.
A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.
Porter, Tracy. Treasures in the Dust. (HarperCollins 1997) 148 pp.
Eleven-year-old Annie and her friend Violet tell of the hardships endured by their families when dust storms, drought, and the Great Depression hit rural Oklahoma.
Reaver, Chap. Bill (Delacorte, 1994) 224 pp.
With the help of her faithful dog Bill and the officer responsible for putting her father in jail, thirteen-year-old Jessica faces changes in her life when she realizes that her father will not stop drinking and making moonshine.
Ritter, John H. Choosing Up Sides. (Philomel 1998) 166 pp.
In 1921 thirteen-year-old Luke finds himself torn between accepting his left-handedness or conforming to the belief of his preacher-father that such a condition is evil and must be overcome.
Roddy, Lee. The Gold Train Bandits. (Bethany House, 1992) 175 pp.
Twelve-year-old Hildy and her family have a hard life in California during the Depression, but her efforts to help the daughter of an outlaw strengthens Hildy's faith.
Roddy, Lee. Terror in the Sky. (Bethany House, 1991) 175 pp.
Struggling with school and a lack of money during the Depression, seventh grader Hildy is overwhelmed when the little girl she cares for after school is kidnapped, but God steps in in a remarkable manner.
Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising. (Scholastic, 2000) 262 pp.
Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression. Also available in Spanish as Esperanza renace.
Voigt, Cynthia. Tree by Leaf. (Atheneum 1988) 208 pp.
A father’s return home following World War I creates problems for his family, especially for twelve-year-old Clothilde, who struggles to accept his horrible disfigurement and opposes her mother’s plan to sell Clothilde’s land, a peninsula off the coast of Maine, to help pay the family’s expenses.
Yep, Laurence. Dream Soul (HarperCollins, 2000) 245 pp.
In 1927, as Christmas approaches, fifteen-year-old Joan Lee hopes to get her parents’ permission to celebrate the holiday, one of the problems of belonging to the only Chinese American family in her small West Virginia community.
Yep, Laurence. The Star Fisher. (Morrow, 1991) 150 pp.
Fifteen-year-old Joan Lee and her family find the adjustment hard when they move from Ohio to West Virginia in the 1920’s.