(graphic novel)

As she pulls the dead body of Billy Glass up from the swampy Bayou, Lee, a young African American, sees the power of racism. Billy, who has a lynch around his neck, was killed for whistling at a white woman. Despite the segregation in Mississippi in the 19030s, she is friends with Lily, the daughter of a prominent white woman. She is warned against the friendship, but Lee feels sorry for Lily' abusive home life. One day, Lily turns up missing after going down to the Bayou. Lee’s father is immediately accused of the crime. Lee’s determination to save her father and Lily forces her to confront the brutal reality of the time period, which is also captured in the "boogie-men" who come out from the Bayou. This beautifully and hauntingly illustrated graphic novel offers a complex tale that mixes innocence, evilness, childhood monsters and real-life horrors.

Love, Jeremy. Bayou. Volume I. New York: D.C. Comics, 2009.

worsthardtime.jpgThe Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

(CD/Audio version)

This nonfiction novel is not just about the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression; it's a dramatic tragedy. Through first-person accounts, family histories and vivid details, the author tells the stories of those who experienced and lived through one of the nation's greatest natural disasters. He uses gripping words to tell the story of how man changed the land and then the land paid it back in tenfold, both in bounty and in pain. The narrator, Patrick Lawrence, reads each account using a variety of voices, giving life to each character.

There are many interesting anecdotes that show how difficult times were, and provide a historical perspective of the geographical area. Many startling facts are shared. In a time of drought, there were men cutting open buffalo and drinking whatever was in their stomachs. Dug-out homes flooded with centipedes, tarantulas, black widows and other swarms of creatures.

Egan, Timothy. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. Narrator: Patrick Lawrence. Old Saybrook, CT: Tantor Media, Inc., 2006

yellowstarpublish.jpgYellow Star

Syvia was one of only 12 children who survived the horrific realities of living in a ghetto under Nazi rule. She spends about six years living in constant fear and often hidden in secrecy as the Nazis try to remove every single child in the Lotz ghetto. Her story, based on a true narrative, includes stark, clear descriptions as only a child could tell.

Roy, Jennifer. Yellow Star. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2006.