________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 12. . . .November 20, 2015


Black Tuesday and the Great Depression. (Uncovering the Past: Analyzing Primary Sources).

Natalie Hyde.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2016.
48 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $11.95 (pbk.), $23.49 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1721-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1708-9 (RLB), ISBN 978 1 4271 1682-6 (pdf), ISBN 978 1 4271 1680-2 (html).

Subject Headings:
Stock Market Crash, 1929-Juvenile literature.
Depressions-1929-Juvenile literature.
Stock Market Crash, 1929-Sources-Juvenile literature.
Depressions, 1929-Sources-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4


Women’s Suffrage. (Uncovering the Past: Analyzing Primary Sources).

Lynn Peppas.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2016.
48 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $11.95 (pbk.), $23.49 (RLB).
ISBN 978 0 7787 1722-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978 0 7787 1720-1 (RLB), ISBN 978 1 4271 1683-3 (pdf), ISBN 978 1 4271 1681-9 (html).

Subject Headings:
Women-Suffrage-Juvenile literature.
Women-Suffrage-History-Sources-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4



Historians learn about an event or era by examining the pieces of evidence – called primary sources – that have been preserved. Historians have a lot in common with detectives. Both analyze evidence to determine what really happened. Historians evaluate and interpret primary sources to help them understand as much as they can about the past. Interpreting primary sources is not easy. Often we think we know about a subject from listening to others, watching television, or reading books. But not everything we read, see, or hear is always true. We look at primary sources to form our own understanding of what happened. (From Women's Suffrage.)


The two latest books in the “Uncovering the Past: Analyzing Primary Sources” series, Black Tuesday and the Great Depression and Women's Suffrage, maintain the quality of the previous books in the series. I have never seen books written for elementary students that so clearly explain and illustrate both how to evaluate sources of information, and why we need to think critically about the sources we are using.

     Normally I wouldn't quote from the promotional material from a publisher, but I totally agree with this summation on the back cover of these books.

This remarkable series examines the historical evidence of events in history giving insight into why evidence is created and by whom, how it can be analyzed and interpreted in various ways, and how controversies in history can develop.

     The series, “Uncovering the Past: Analyzing Primary Sources”, uses eye-witness accounts, photographs, art work, illustrations, and newspaper reports, as well as songs of the period, to teach students how to think critically about their sources of information. Each book ends with a look at a present-day example of similar events as evidence, sadly, that history does repeat.

     Identifying bias, prejudice, and perspective, and learning to examine more than one source of information are critical skills for students of the information age. Most importantly, the critical thinking and evaluating skills taught by looking at the records from the past are highly transferable to other research topics.

      Each book in the series begins with an introduction to the historic topic of the book, giving a context to the documents and artifacts that will be presented as source material. The initial chapter in each book also presents an explanation for why we need to learn about the past.

      The books then look at different types of evidence, giving examples of types of primary source material and the distinction between primary and secondary source material. Black Tuesday and the Great Depression and Women's Suffrage both emphasize the importance of examining the context surrounding even primary source material.

During the Great Depression, people had strong opinions about the government and its role in the disaster. Many sources can be seen to slant in favor or against the presidents who ran the country” (From Black Tuesday and the Great Depression)

     Women's Suffrage explains that “[some] primary sources are considered better than others.” )

As a result of male-controlled societies throughout time, much of history from ancient times to about the 1800s has been written by men for men. Herstory – the documentation of the past from a female perspective – is a new word coined in the 1970s by the feminist writer Robin Morgan. Women recording history from their point of view is a new event that has only occurred within the past 200 years.

      The final chapter in each book looks at a modern day example of the historical content of the book. In Women's Suffrage, the chapter “Influencing the World: History Repeated” examines the modern feminist movement and worldwide campaigns for human rights and an end to violence against women.

In some countries, women have only just recently gained suffrage. Women in Saudi Arabia were first enfranchised in 2015. In this conservative country, women have few basic rights and are allowed to own cars but not actually drive them.

      Each book includes a table of contents, a timeline of events which includes a map, a bibliography including quotation references, a glossary and an index.

      Also included in each book are “Internet Guidelines” with questions such as, “Who writes and/or sponsors the page? Is it an expert in the field, a person who experienced the event, or just a person with an opinion?” That feature alone makes these books invaluable.

      Black Tuesday and the Great Depression uses newspaper clippings and photographs from the time to examine the record of the lead up to and effects of the Great Depression. Because the Great Depression started in the United States, the majority of the events in the book occur in the US, but the effects of the Great Depression spread far beyond the US. References to what was happening in Canada and around the world are included.

      Women’s Suffrage contains specifics about the Canadian experience, including information about the Famous Five and the Person’s Case.

      Like the previous books in the “Uncovering the Past: Analyzing Primary Sources” series, both Black Tuesday and The Great Depression and Women’s Suffrage will be important resources to help students improve their skills in examining evidence critically for bias and reliability. I highly recommend both of these books.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson, a retired teacher-librarian, is currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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