Sandler, Martin. “1919: The Year that Changed America.” New York: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019.

We might not think of 1919 as a year of momentous importance, but in retrospect, it was a year full of events that impact our lives 100 years later.  Some were really great, like Congress approving women’s suffrage, and some were not-so-great, like The Red Scare (did you know there was one 30 years before McCarthy?) and the revolution that brought about communism taking hold in USSR.  Each chapter takes on a different event and includes its own timeline for each.  A few other topics included in this readable title are the 18th Amendment (prohibition of alcohol), labor strikes, the Black Sox scandal, the Red Summer race riots, and more.

While some events are well known, others will be new to students, and possibly teachers, like the Great Molasses Flood in Boston’s North End, which led to stricter requirements around architecture and engineering in building codes across the nation.  Sometimes students in history class don’t see the connection between the names and dates in their text books, but “1919” ties it all together well.  Taken together, it is easy to see how these events led to societal shifts that were coming in the 20th and the 21st Centuries.

With its carefully chosen photographs and each chapter’s 100 Years Later section, it’s a strong addition to a middle or high school library.   As a whole, it is an interesting read, and taken separately, the chapters provide a good resource for research, especially in middle school/junior high.

Dewey:  973.91                                                                  Interest Level:  Grades 6-9

Reviews and Awards: Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly Annex, School Library Journal.

Younger readers might like: “100 Events that Made History” by Clare Hibbert

Older readers might like: “Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918” by Albert Marrin

Fiction Pairing: “Hattie Ever After” by Kirby Larson

On the Web:

The Boston Globe’s article marking the 100th anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood, along with images of the frontpage headlines of the Globe morning and evening papers on January 15, 1919.

The Library of Congress has a collection of primary sources associated with the 19th Amendment that includes the Clara Barton Papers and scrapbook collections.

Women’s suffrage in Idaho is covered at the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab.