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Christmas After All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana 1932 (Dear America Series)
To 11-year-old Minnie Swift, Christmas, 1932, is not going to be the time of bounty she's used to. Instead, it has become the "Time of the Dwindling." The Great Depression has changed everything: Minnie's father is working fewer and fewer hours, her hungry family eats more and more aspic and "rumor of pork" (high up on the Vomitron, a zero-to-ten scale Minnie and her brother have invented to determine the vileness of their meager dinners), and a tiny orphan girl has joined their family from Heart's Bend, Texas. Minnie finds a worthy outlet in her daily journal, in which she records the sometimes troubling, sometimes exhilarating experiences of one winter month in Indianapolis during the depression. Nothing can subdue Minnie's lively spirit, although the disappearance of her father challenges her sorely.
Kathryn Lasky's latest addition to the Dear America series is chock-full of period details: Greta Garbo's hairstyle, The Shadow radio program, Charlie Chan, Hooverville shantytowns, Buck Rogers, Amelia Earhart, and phrases like yee gads and go-to-the-dickens. Minnie is an exuberant and witty chronicler of her family life, as well as the world outside. Young readers will come away from Christmas After All with a strong image of life in the 1930s, and a sense of the resiliency and ingenuity of many Americans during that deeply troubled time. A historical note and photos follow the diary, providing background to help readers understand the era in which the fictional Minnie lived. (Ages 9 to 14) -- Emilie Coulter
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