Blue Willow by Doris Gates (1940)

blue willow.jpgJaney’s family used to own a home and land in Texas, but then the Great Depression descended on the country and they, like so many, lost everything.  Father is now an itinerant farm worker moving the family frequently as he follows the crop harvests in California.

Carefully wrapped and protected in a family suitcase is a single Blue Willow plate that belonged to Janey’s great-great-grandmother.  The plate is painted with an image of a river, an arched bridge, willow trees and a home.  Janey loves to look at the precious plate and dream, not only of the home her family left behind in Texas, but of a future, stable life they might have again one day in the future.

Will Janey’s family ever find that life?  Blue Willow, a Newbery Honor Book in 1941, is often called a child’s version of The Grapes of Wrath. 

My parents were children of The Great Depression.  In my opinion, those difficult years colored nearly every decision they made for the rest of their lives.  For those of us who have not lived through a time like that, it is hard to imagine the despair and fear it brought to those who did.  Books like Blue Willow help us understand — at least to some degree — how life was in that far away, difficult time.

Middle School Reading Level, 176 pages, The Great Depression, Published in 1940.


About kidsbooksworthreading

Are you looking for Children’s and Young Adult books that have stood the test of time? I have a master of list of over 600 titles to share. I’m an English major, mother of five and homeschooler for 15 years. My purpose with this blog is to share forgotten favorites that most parents today have never heard of, but are so worth reading! I hope you’ll join with me as I share the best that Youth Literature has to offer.
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1 Response to Blue Willow by Doris Gates (1940)

  1. Pingback: A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Coco De Young (1999) | Kids Books Worth Reading

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