Out of the Dust



The book is known for it's use of free verse
to tell the story of Billie Jo.
So, what is a free verse?

Free verse is a form of poetry that refrains from meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern. Some poets have explained that free verse, despite its freedom, must still display some elements of form. Most free verse, for example, self-evidently continues to observe a convention of the poetic line in some sense, at least in written representations, thus retaining a potential degree of linkage, however nebulous, with more traditional forms.


Dust Bowl Timeline

Map of Dust Bowl Area

Eye Witness Photos/Quotes

The Great Depression

Black Sunday

 Discovery Channel Video Excerpt

Songs & Lyrics from Dust Bowl/Great Depression Era

"Voices from the Dust Bowl"

Out of the Dust

by Karen Hesse

1998 Newbery Medal Winner
Winner of the 1998 Scott O'Dell Award
An ALA Notable Children's Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults


When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.

Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.

Your Task:

Your task is very simple:  You are to follow the links to the left to get a better understanding of the time period of the 1930s, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl phenomenon that ruled life in the southern and mid-western United States.

Many of the websites that you will be visiting hold a vast amount of information about this time period and the people who lived through it. However, because we are pressed for time, it will be up to you to decide how much time you are to spend on each site. 

You are welcome to visit this site again from home if you would like to learn more.  However, use your time wisely to complete this project during your assigned lab time before you go  exploring. 

Here are some things to remember while answering you questions:

  1. Read each webpage carefully.
  2. Answer your questions carefully and accurately.
  3. Use complete sentences.
  4. Take your time and be neat.

Click here to access a copy of the worksheet if you don't already one. 


Okay, let's get started!

First let's make sure you understand what you need to do - The links on the left are for you to explore.  It is important that you read carefully.  You aren't only reading for the answers, but to get a better understanding about life in the Dust Bowl. 

So get your pencil, paper, and reading eyes ready for the quest! If you get lost, just click on the back button of the browser or ask Mrs. Feniello or Miss Cook for help.