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Fighting for the Forest

How FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps Helped Save America


“Informative, inspiring.” —Kirkus Reviews

In an inspiring middle grade nonfiction work, P. O’Connell Pearson tells the story of the Civilian Conservation Corps—one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal projects that helped save a generation of Americans.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933, the United States was on the brink of economic collapse and environmental disaster. Thirty-four days later, the first of over three million impoverished young men was building parks and reclaiming the nation’s forests and farmlands. The Civilian Conservation Corps—FDR’s favorite program and “miracle of inter-agency cooperation”—resulted in the building and/or improvement of hundreds of state and national parks, the restoration of nearly 120 million acre of land, and the planting of some three billion trees—more than half of all the trees ever planted in the United States.

Fighting for the Forest tells the story of the Civilian Conservation Corp through a close look at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (the CCC’s first project) and through the personal stories and work of young men around the nation who came of age and changed their country for the better working in Roosevelt’s Tree Army.

Patricia O’Connell Pearson is a former history teacher with a master’s degree in education from George Mason University. She has contributed to and edited history textbooks and published articles in magazines and newspapers including The Washington Post. Always enthusiastic about sharing the stories of history, she earned her MFA in writing for young people from Lesley University and now writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. When she is not writing about history, she can often be found talking about history as a volunteer with the National Park Service in Washington, DC. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

"A well-researched, informative introduction to a topic seldom discussed in books for young people."

– Booklist, starred review

"An informative, inspiring look at desperate times and how government can achieve great things through cooperation and good leadership."

– Kirkus Reviews

"This thorough, well-rounded portrayal of the CCC brings this piece of U.S. history to life."

– School Library Journal

  • CBC/NCSS Notable Children's Book in Social Studies
  • Topaz Nonfiction Reading List (TX)
  • Children's History Book Prize Finalist

More books from this author: P. O’Connell Pearson