Title: Cimarron Girl
Author: Mike Blanc
Major Themes: Dust Bowl, Great Depression, Oklahoma, California
Synopsis: When it didn’t rain for year after year, and the land dried up and blew away, how could Abby’s family survive?
What was it like to live through the Dust Bowl? I can only think of one other children’s book about it, and that one was an Easy Reader. I was happy to find Cimarron Girl: The Dust Bowl Years of Abigail Brubaker a few weeks ago, and read it to my children as part of our afternoon read-aloud time.
Abby Brubaker was only seven years old in 1932 when drought struck Oklahoma. Gradually, life got harder and harder. Then, it got even worse—the dust storms struck. The soil was blowing away. And then it got worse yet when a dust blizzard struck and the tractor and fences were covered and a boy died. How could anyone survive in these conditions?
In 1936, the Brubaker family gave up. They sold all they could and packed the rest into the jalopy—and took off for California! Would they be allowed into that state, though? And would things really be better there? At the end of the story, a couple of pages give a timeline of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, to help give a framework to the story. The entire book is illustrated with sepia drawings that bring the story to life.
Cimarron Girl was a very good look at the difficult time faced by people in Oklahoma during the 1930s. It really made that time come to life. I’m glad I found it and was able to share it with my children! This is one I would love to have on the shelf in a hard copy.
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12