Home | Writing | Grammar | Spelling | Reading | Science | Math | How to Homeschool | Blog | View Cart
            Follow Us & Join the Fun:     facebook button pinterest button rss button

Classical Childrens Books

In the Shadow of the Pines

In The Shadow of the Pines is a true story from the Great Depression. A sharecropping family in Texas struggles with poverty, illness, death, and land disputes.

Shadow of the Pines Cover

The Great Depression
A Mother's Plea             A Son's Promise

The Setting

Year: 1935
Era: Great Depression
Location: East Texas


The summary is from the back cover

Nine year old Alfred and his family live as sharecroppers in the pine woods of East Texas. Plagued by poverty and hunger, the family also faced illness and land disputes.

Should the children work to help buy food for one more day as their father insits? Or should they go to school as their mother wants in order to gain a better future?

As circumstances continue to get worse, the family is evicted and moves to a tent in the woods. There an unexpected change awaits them.


The book has a number of important literary themes

Importance of family
Keeping promises
Siblings working together
Value of education
Texas history
Cycle of life and death

Character Development

His mother's dying wish was for her children to stay together and go to school. But how can Alfred keep his promise when his father requires him to work?

Does it count if Alfred studies late at night? Will that help anything?

In the day by day struggle, the older kids take care of the younger children, and the younger children help their older siblings.

Even as young adults they continue to look out for each other. Maybe even yet their mother's hopes will come true.

Historical Significance

History is woven into the fabric of the story

Great Depression
Modern readers can grasp the hardships of families during the Great Depression. This tells the specific story of one sharecropping family, but it reflects the hardships of millions of Americans. The struggle of that generation is portrayed as children toil in the fields without the basic necessities and their parents face difficult decisions.

Texas History
Their grandfather is the story teller who shares how their great-great grandparents settled in Texas and lived through Texas history.

Major historical events include the Zavala Colony, the Alamo, Independent Republic of Texas, and the Civil War.

The settlers and farmers of East Texas had their own regional history that differs from common stereo-types of Texas ranches in other areas of the state. Some of the regional aspects include:
  • The Piney Woods of East Texas
  • History of White and Yellow Pines
  • Open range
  • Local cattle drives of 1930's
  • Sugar cane harvest
  • Watkins Peddler Cart

World War II and the Berlin Airlift
The prologue and epilogue are set in the context of the end of World War II and the Berlin Airlift.

The story of his childhood is recounted by Alfred more than a decade later as he is serving as an airman in the Berlin Airlift. Previously, he had been a soldier in World War II.

The context of those world events are used to contrast the events of his own childhood. He remembers feelings of hunger and the pain of his own mother's death as he participates in the Berlin Airlift. He contrasts the battle stories his grandfather told him with modern realities.

Bobbitt Cemetery - State Historical Site
The founding of the Bobbitt Cemetery in 1866 and its history is described. This is one of the few remaining sites of early white settlers in Texas.

In the first chapter their grandfather describes how the family cemetery started. The burial of their mother takes place in the cemetery as the children watch helplessly. As an adult, Alfred returns to visit the graves of his mother and grandfather and recount the promise he made.

Buy In the Shadow of the Pines

From Us

Shadow of the Pines Cover

In The Shadow of the Pines
Paperback - 162 Pages
Add to Cart button

From Amazon

Shadow of the Pines Cover

Also available on Amazon.com. Click the link to the side or the Amazon logo in the space above.

From Kindle

In the Shadow of the Pines">Also available on Kindle. $2.99 for electronic format.


Classical Children's Books

Literature by Era

Books by Historical Era
Ancient History
The Middle Ages
American Revolution
Thanksgiving History
18th Century Literature
19th Century Literature
Civil War Era Literature
Early 20th Century
Depression Era Literature
World War II Literature
Historic Fiction Teaches

Books by Grade

3rd Grade
4th Grade
5th Grade
6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
Classical Lit Book Club

Easy Books

Preschool Picture Books
Early Reading Books
First Chapter Books

Lit Unit Studies

The Jungle Book
Wind In The Willows
Little Women
Twenty and Ten
Shadow of the Pines
Wizard of Oz
Calico Bush
Benjamin West & His Cat
The Golden Goblet
The Golden Goblet

Literary Themes

Children's Book Themes
Animal Stories
Dragon Legends
Ocean Stories
Family Life
Overcoming Disabilities
Christmas Stories
Detective Stories
Christian Literature
Fairy Tales

Favorite Authors

List of Authors' Books
Charles Dickens
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Jane Austen

Favorite Book Series

Sets of Classics

People & Places

Tales From Other Lands
African American Lit
Native American Stories

Boy Reading and Dreaming
Favorite Boys Books

Girl Reading and Dreaming
Favorite Girls Books

Shadow of the Pines
In The Shadow of the Pines

Shadow of the Pines
All The Cities Of Gold

New! Comments

Share your feedback with the rest of the home school community.

You Are Here:       >    >  

Top of This Page

About Our Site

Hands-On Learning

homeschool curriculum sign
See All Products

Follow Us and Join the Fun

Follow Our Pages

By Karen Newell Copyright© 2009 - 2018 Learn For Your Life All Rights Reserved