This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie

Partridge, Elizabeth. This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie. 2002. 217pp. Lexile 1020.

This thoughtful biography of a complicated man highlights Guthrie’s talents as a folksinger and songwriter, and his commitment to political causes.  At the same time, the author discusses Guthrie’s personal problems, such as the ways he let down his wives and children.  Hardship and pain occurred throughout his life: his sister and one of his daughters died in fires.  His mother had undiagnosed Huntington’s disease, which affected Guthrie as well and ended his career.  Partridge sets Guthrie’s life in the social and political context of the 1930s through 1960s.  Multiple photographs, reproductions of Guthrie’s own witty drawings, and excerpts of lyrics enrich the text.  This is listed in Common Core's Appendix B.  It was the winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and one of five National Book Award for Young People nominees.

Reading Std #7:  Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, visually and quantitatively, and in words. Compare the Partridge biography with the much-lauded 1976 film about Guthrie, Bound for Glory (PG rated).