By Lisa Olson
During one of the most trying periods in American history, the Dust Bowl Era, when the dust storms came and scoured the earth, a little girl nurtures a courageous seedling she found trying to survive in the harsh and unforgiving conditions. She knows the blooms would bring a smile to her Mama’s tired face, as she has heard stories of the garden she used to keep. What she doesn’t know is that the little flower promises something even more precious: Hope.
This is the first book in the Tales from American HerStory series, in which tidbits of American history are explored from the vantage point of a girl protagonist.
Media and Reviews:
Bonnie Ferrante Books for Children:
"This lovely and engaging picture book tells the story of the dust bowl era in the United States through the eyes of a little girl. Her grandmother tells her stories of the beauty of the land before the drought. The little girl has no memory of it and barely remembers her mother ever wearing a smile.
One day the girl finds a little green shoot and secretly waters it until it until it blooms into a gorgeous vine of morning glories. When her mother sees it, she smiles and dances with joy with her daughter. Although another dust storm is rising, they also hear the sound of thunder foretelling the coming end of the drought.
The pictures are soft, expressive watercolour hinting at dust without being overly oppressive. The story is told with tact, beauty, hope, and charm. I did, however find the occasional fully capitalize the word distracting and did not understand its purpose. This wonderful book would be a great addition to any classroom shelf or child’s personal book collection."
“It’s easy to get sucked up into the enormity of life and not think you could ever make a difference. That’s what I like all my books to say. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!!!” ~Lisa Olson
I love this quote by Lisa Gammon Olson, author of the American Herstory series! Lisa contacted me recently about her picture book series and I could tell (even through e-mail correspondence) that she’s very passionate about what she wants young readers to take away from her books. I asked Lisa to tell us more about the books and the messages they impart.
My American Herstory Series started where every story starts…with a Once Upon a Time…a small snippet of time from our past, as seen through the eyes of one young girl.
Working as a secretary in a small rural elementary school has given me a glimpse into the inner workings of a child’s heart and mind. I see their need for acceptance, for praise and to feel valued as an integral part of the daily school routine.
My father taught 9th grade World Geography and American History. My three sisters and I grew up immersed in daily discussions of current and historical events, interconnected and tightly woven together, todays, tomorrows and yesterdays… sewn together in the colorful patchwork quilt of life. I’ve always been amazed at the tenacity of the human spirit and the will to survive and even thrive in harsh conditions throughout history.
So, in wanting to validate every child’s sense of belonging, coupled with a passion for history, Dust Flowers, came to life. The first book in this historical fiction series takes place during one of the most difficult periods in American history, the Dust Bowl Era. Imagine being a child, watching your parents struggle to farm during a decade long drought, besieged with daily black blizzards of swirling dust and not having ever felt a drop of rain in your entire lifetime. What could one small girl do in the enormity of a drought? Every act, no matter how small, can change someone’s life for the better. Growing a flower and bringing a smile to her mother’s sad face promises something even more precious…hope!