Books Like The Grapes of Wrath

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

''The Grapes of Wrath'' is a story about the Great Depression and its effect on a family, who is forced to move from Oklahoma to California to find work. This lesson provides a list of books that are similar.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was written in 1938 and tells the story of the Joad family. The Joads were forced off their land in Oklahoma and decided to move west when they heard there was work in California. Unfortunately, all they found were migrant camps, meager wages, and conflict. The book is rife with prejudice, greed, and oppression. Steinbeck used real life interviews of people who were migrant workers as the inspiration for the novel, which eventually earned him the Pulitzer Prize.

The following books are sectioned by similarity for ease.

Books About the Great Depression


Born and Bred in the Great Depression by Jonah Winter - This picture book is meant for younger kids. The story is about the author and how he grew up in Texas during the Great Depression. It focuses on his family and experiences when he was young.

Potato: A Tale From the Great Depression by Kate Lied - Another book for young readers. It tells the story of a family who also struggles to find work, so they travel to Idaho to dig potatoes.

Young Adult

Anna's Fight for Hope by JoAnn Grote - This book is meant for tweens, and follows a girl who saw how her friends were struggling during the Great Depression. This is a fiction book that shows a different perspective on a difficult time.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse - This story is set during the Great Depression and is focused on the Oklahoma dustbowl. It is about a young teenager that experiences the poverty and challenges of the Great Depression.

Ella by Ryan Scott - This story is about a young woman during the Great Depression. It portrays the poverty that so many dealt with during those times, as well as abuse she experiences at her family's hands.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl by Susie Finkbeiner - A fictional tale about a young woman who is living in Oklahoma during the depression. It tells the story of how her family reaches out and helps those who have nothing. It also shows how the family becomes closer to each other the more challenges they face.

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