Decades Book Challenge

sesquicentennial logo.JPGSince Traer is celebrating our Sesquicentennial (1873-2023) this year, we will be doing a Decades Book Challenge all year long! To cover our 150 years, each month you will choose a book corresponding to a specific decade(s). This is YOUR Challenge so you can choose how you fulfill the prompt. You can choose a book published in that decade, a book about an event from that decade or set in that decade, or any topic related to something from the decade.  It can be fiction or non-fiction.




December  2010-2023 - Topic Ideas

The 2010s saw economic recovery from the financial crisis of the late 2000s. Unrest in the Arab world, referred to as the Arab Spring included several revolutions and civil wars. Globalization and demand for personalized choice led streaming services to expand available genres. The use of smart phones became widespread, and the over half the world’s population gained access to the Internet. Weather extremes caused by global warming were noted in all parts of the world.
By January 1, 2020, the virus that would infect the world and become known as the COVID-19 pandemic had already begun to spread in Asia.  By the end of the year nearly two million will have died as a result. The 2020s saw protests across the country in response to police violence. SpaceX launched people into space. NASA also made advances in space exploration with the James Webb Space Telescope, and the launch of Artemis 1, an unmanned mission to the moon.














·         The COVID-19 pandemic, which began spreading late in the prior year, spreads from China to the vast majority of the world's inhabited areas, infecting at least 81 million and killing at least 1.8 million people in its first year.

·         Fears of COVID-19 cause the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall ten percent in one week, its largest drop in history, triggering the COVID-19 Recession, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

·         January 16February 5: Donald Trump is acquitted by the United States Senate in his first impeachment trial.  

·         May 25: The murder of George Floyd sparks protests across the United States and the world.

·         May 30: Crewed spaceflight resumes in the USA. SpaceX becomes the first private company to launch people in space.

·         November 3: The 2020 United States presidential election occurs. Despite the pandemic, early voting and other factors result in the highest voter turnout since 1900, and a record of over 155 million votes cast. Although Joe Biden is declared the winner on November 7, Donald Trump leads an unprecedented effort to prevent official recognition of his defeat, culminating on January 6 the next year.


·         January 6: Supporters of President Donald Trump, gathered after a rally led by him, attack the United States capitol, leading to five deaths.

·         January 13February 13: Donald Trump is impeached for a second time following the events of January 6, though he is acquitted again after his trial from February 9–13.

·         April 22: World leaders mark Earth Day by hosting a virtual summit on climate change, during which more ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions are proposed.

·         August 15: Kabul falls following the 2021 Taliban offensive, as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan collapses de facto, and the country is governed thereafter by the Taliban as the reinstated Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The War in Afghanistan thus ends after 20 years following the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.


·         February 24: Russia invades Ukraine, escalating the Russo-Ukrainian War, causing a refugee crisis and tens of thousands of deaths on both sides.

·         July 11: James Webb Space Telescope takes Webb's First Deep Field, oldest and highest resolution image of the universe to date.

·         November 16: NASA launches Artemis 1, an unmanned mission to the Moon. Main objective is to test the Orion spacecraft and the SLS rocket.

·         The COVID-19 pandemic infects at least 360 million and kills at least 1.3 million in its third year. The deployment of vaccines worldwide continues from the previous year, and the pandemic does not dominate headlines or the course of the year's events to the same extent it did for the previous two years.


·         For a lengthy summary of events from this year, go to:


December Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)


B CHE CHE           No ordinary dog: my partner from the SEAL Teams to the Bin Laden raid

B CHE CHE           The barefoot lawyer: a blind man’s fight for justice and freedom in China

B GAF GAF          When life gives you pears: the healing power of family, faith, and funny people

B KYL KYL             American wife: love, war, faith, and renewal (by widow of Chris Kyle)

B MIL MIL            Know my name (setting:  2015-2016; California)


306.85 STR          Brothers on three: a true story of family, resistance, and hope on a reservation in Montana

362.77 LP ELL     Invisible child: poverty, survival & hope in an American city

363.37 SAN         The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots (2013; Arizona)

364.152 MCE     Gosnell: the untold story of America’s most prolific serial killer

636.75 COT         Olive, Mabel & Me: life and adventures with two very good dogs

796.357 COH      The Chicago Cubs: story of a curse

796.357 GRE      100 things Cubs fans should know & do before they die

796.357 VER       The Cubs way: the Zen of building the best team in baseball and breaking the curse



F BAC                    Beartown (setting: 2017; small Swedish forest town)

F BRO                    Horse (setting: 1850 Kentucky; 1954 NYC; 2019 Washington, DC)

F CEN                    Things you save in a fire (setting: 2017; Boston, Massachusetts)

F CHA                    Big lies in a small town (setting:  1940 & 2018; North Carolina)

F HON                   Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine (setting: mid-2010s; Glasgow, Scotland)

F LOV                    Can’t look away (setting: 2013 & a decade later; NYC and Connecticut)

F MCC                   Reconstructing Amelia (setting: 2010s; Brooklyn, NY)

F MCM                 The children on the hill (setting: 1978 & 2019; Vermont)

F MON                  The summer of lost and found (setting 2020; South Carolina)

F PAT                     Private games (setting: London Olympic Games, 2012)

F PAT                     The games (setting: Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games, 2016)

F PIC                      Small great things (setting: 2015-2016; Connecticut)

F SER                     In five years (setting 2020 & 2025; New York City)

F SPA                     The wish (setting: 1996 & 2019

F STJ                      The Sun Down motel (setting:  1982 & 2017; Upstate NY)

F VAN                   The Christmas table (setting: 2012 & 1972)

F ZEV                     The storied life of A.J. Fikry (setting: 2013; fictional Alice Island, Massachusetts)

F SEM                    Where’d you go, Bernadette (setting: early 2010s; Seattle, Washington)

NEW F LP ALL     The wind knows my name (setting: 1938 Vienna & 2019 Arizona)

F LP BES                The Caretakers (setting: 2015; Paris)

F LP ERD               The sentence (setting: 2019 & 2020; Minneapolis)

F LP HIL                 28 summers (setting: 1993-2020; Nantucket, Massachusetts)

F LP SHT               Our country friends (setting: 2020; Upstate New York)

F LP WHI              The last night in London (setting: 1939 & 2019; London)

F LP WIL               The lost summers of Newport (setting: 1899, 1958, 2019; Newport, RI)

JF PAL                   Wonder (setting: early 2010s; NYC)

JF TAR                   I survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011

JF TAR                   I survived the Joplin tornado, 2011

JF TAR                   I survived the California wildfires, 2018


November 2000 - 2009Topic Ideas

The 2000s headlines were dominated by 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina




















November Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)

B BAR TEA                   Saved by her enemy: an Iraqi woman’s journey from the heart of war to the heartland of America

B BEA BEA                   Let’s roll!: Ordinary people, extraordinary courage

B BES BES                    Thank you for my service

B BUS BUS                   Spoken from the heart

B CRA CRA                   The last true story I’ll ever tell: an accidental soldier’s account of the War in Iraq

B CRO RIN                   The red bandanna (setting: NYC; 2001-2002)

B IRV IRV                     The Reaper: autobiography of one of the deadliest special ops snipers

B MOR MOR               The River Queen: a memoir

B ONE ONE                  The operator: firing the shots that killed Osama bin Laden and my years as a SEAL team warrior

B SIL SIL                       Brothers forever: the enduring bond between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that transcended their ultimate sacrifice

B SOL THO                   Soldier girls: the battles of three women at home and at war

B TIL KRA                     Where men win glory: the odyssey of Pat Tillman

B THO TAB                   Sacred acre: the Ed Thomas story

B WAL WAL                 Code name: Johnny Walker: the extraordinary story of the Iraqi who risked everything to fight with the U.S. Navy Seals

B WIS WIS                   Three wise men: a Navy Seal, a Green Beret, and how their Marine brother became a war’s sole survivor

B ZEI EGG                    Zeitoun (setting: New Orleans, 2005)



363.34 PIC                   Last man down: a firefighter’s story of survival and escape from the World Trade Center

364.152 RUL                Practice to deceive (setting: Whidbey Island, Washington; 2003)

364.16 JOH                  The feather thief: beauty, obsession, and the natural history heist of the century

636.083 ZAL                Funny farm: my unexpected life with 600 rescue animals

636.7 GOR                   Wallace: the underdog who conquered a sport, saved a marriage, and championed pit bulls – one flying disc at a time


958.104 STA                Horse soldiers: the extraordinary story of a band of U.S. soldiers who rode to victory in Afghanistan

971.8 DEF                    The day the world came to town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland

977.7 GRE                   Postville, U.S.A.: surviving diversity in small-town America



NEW F FEE                   Daisy Darker (setting: 2004; an island on the Cornwall coast)


F LP GRI                       Gray Mountain (setting: 2008; NYC & Virginia)

F LP HAN                                 Home front (setting: 2005; Iraq and USA)

F LP JAM                      Meant to be: a novel of honor and duty (setting: Maryland and Afghanistan; 2001)

F LP KIN                       Beyond Tuesday morning (setting: NYC; 2004)

F LP POW                    Yellow Birds (setting: 2004-2005; Iraq)

F LP ROS                      Sarah’s key (setting: 1942 and 2002; Paris)

F LP TRO                      This is where I leave you (setting: early 2000s; Upstate New York)


F FUR                           Black site: a Delta Force novel (setting: post 9/11; Pakistan)

F GIF                            The lies that bind (setting: NYC; early 2000s)

F HAR                          The center of everything (setting: 2002, Montana)

F KLA                           Redeployment (setting: short stories about returning soldiers)

F MOR                         What Alice forgot (setting: 2008; Sydney, Australia)

F MOY                         Me before you (setting: 2009; England)

F ROS                           Sarah’s key (setting: 1942 and 2002; Paris)

F RYA                           Thin line (setting: 2006; NYC, Paris, Washington DC)

F SHI                            The heirloom garden (2000s & 1940s; Grand Haven, Michigan)



JF PHI                           Zane and the hurricane: a story of Katrina

JF TAR                          I survived the attacks of September 11, 2001

JF TAR                          I survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005

JF GN TAR                    I survived the attacks of September 11, 2001

JB YEB THO                         Emmanuel’s dream: the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

J613.69 RUS                Surviving the storm


NEW F TN ARA            Enduring freedom (setting: Afghanistan, after 9/11)

F TN GRE                     Looking for Alaska (setting: 2000-2001; Alabama)



October 1990s - Topic Ideas

The 1990s featured a growing economy, low unemployment, and a national budget surplus. Domestic terrorism, mass shootings, and climate change were also in the news. The World Wide Web (via dial-up connections) and other new technology were other highlights of the decade.



·         April 24: May 20: Launch of the Hubble Space Telescope

·         June 1990: Official demolition of the Berlin Wall began, although protesters had started to tear it down in November 1989.

·         August 24: Gulf War begins.

·         December 20: Tim Berners-Lee publishes the first web site, which described the World Wide Web project.



·         February 28: The Gulf War ends in US withdrawal and a failed uprising.

·         March 3: A video captures the beating of motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers. Four LA police officers are indicted on March 15 for the beating.

·         March 23: Beginning of the Sierra Leone Civil War.

·         December 26: Dissolution of the Soviet Union and independence of 15 former Soviet republics.


·         February 17: A court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sentences serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer to 15 terms of life in prison. Dahmer is murdered in prison 2 years later.

·         April 6: The Bosnian War begins.

·         Bill Clinton elected 42nd President of the United States and reelected in 1996. In 1998, he was impeached, then acquitted.



·         February 26: 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

·         February 28April 19: The Waco siege, a multi-agency law enforcement siege of the compound that belonged to the Seventh-day Adventist religious sect Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas, results in a gunfight, a fire at the compound and 86 deaths.

·         November 30: Release date of Schindler's List.



  January 1: Establishment of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

·         July 5: Amazon founded in Bellevue, Washington by Jeff Bezos.

·         November 5: George Foreman wins the WBA and IBF World Heavyweight Championships by KO'ing Michael Moorer becoming the oldest heavyweight champion in history.



·         January 1: Establishment of the World Trade Organization.

·         April 19: American terrorist Timothy McVeigh bombs the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

·         September 19: The Washington Post and The New York Times publish the Unabomber manifesto.

·         October 3: O. J. Simpson is found not guilty of double murder for the deaths of former wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994.

·         October 16: The Million Man March is held in Washington, D.C. The event was conceived by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.



·         July 5: Dolly the sheep becomes the first successful cloned mammal.

·         July 27: Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

·         September 27: The Taliban government takes control of Afghanistan, creating the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.



·         April 1: The first episode of Pokémon airs on TV Tokyo.

·         August 29: Netflix is launched.

·         August 31: Diana, Princess of Wales is killed in a car accident in Paris.

·         September 5: Death of Mother Teresa.

·         December 19: Release date of Titanic.



·         July 17: Nicholas II of Russia and his family are buried in St. Catherine Chapel, 80 years after he and his family were killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

·         September 4: Google is founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

·         December 19: The impeachment of Bill Clinton begins as a result of the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.



·         April 20: The Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, United States, causes 15 deaths.

·         May 1: The first episode of SpongeBob SquarePants airs on Nickelodeon.

·         October 12: World population reaches 6 billion.

·         December 31:  Vladimir Putin becomes the President of Russia.


 October Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)


F CAL               The Daring girls of Guernsey (setting: 1940 & 1997; Guernsey, UK)

F CHI                Night school (setting: 1996; international locations - a Jack Reacher novel)

F CHI                The Affair: a Reacher novel (setting: 1997; Mississippi)

F GRE               The girls in the snow (setting: 1995 and present day; Minnesota)

F HAR              What the fireflies knew (setting: 1995; Lansing, Michigan)

F LAR               The People we keep (setting: 1994; Little River, New  York)

F REI                Carrie Soto is back (setting: 1994; California)

F SPA               The wish (setting: 1996 & 2019; North Carolina)


F LP DAV          The lions of 5th Avenue (setting: 1913 and 1993; New York City)

F LP HIL           28 Summers (setting: 1993 and 2020; Nantucket)

F LP NG            Little fires everywhere (setting: 1998; Shaker Heights, Ohio)


B BEA BEA       A long way gone: memoirs of a boy soldier (setting: 1990s; Rwanda and Chicago)

B BER BER       She said yes: the unlikely martyrdom of Cassie Bernall (setting: 1990s; Colorado)

B BUS SUN       The quiet man: the indispensable presidency of George H. W. Bush

B FOX FOX       No time like the future: an optimist considers mortality

B MCC KRA      Into the wild (setting: 1991 & 1992; Western states and Alaska)

B NOA NOA     Born a crime: stories from a South African childhood (setting: 1990s; South Africa)

B SCO SCO       Rachel’s tear: the spiritual journey of Columbine martyr Rachel Scott

B STE STE         Just mercy: a story of justice and redemption (setting: late 1980s and 1990s; Alabama)

B WAM WAM  The girl who smiled beads: a story of war and what comes after (setting:

B WAS WAS     SEAL Team Six: memoirs of an elite Navy SEAL sniper

B WOO WOO  The 1997 Masters: my story (setting: Masters golf tournament; Tiger Woods)

NEW B RIC RIC Madly, deeply: the diaries of Alan Rickman (setting: 1993 to his death in 2016)

364.152 EIS     The third rainbow girl: the long life of a double murder in Appalachia (setting: 1980 & 1993; West Virginia)

796.357 MCC  The perfect season: why 1998 was baseball’s greatest year

AUD CD KRA    Into the wild (audiobook version/ setting: 1991 & 1992; Western states and Alaska)

AUD CD OBR   The things they carried (setting: Vietnam War)


F TN LOW        The Giver (1994 Newbery winner)

F TN MCL        The lost causes of Bleak Creek (setting: 1992; North Carolina)

F TN ROW       Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone (first published in 1997)


J956.7 PRI        The Persian Gulf War

JB MCG SAV     Mark McGwire: home run king

JF GRA             Refugee (setting: 1930s Nazi Germany; 1994 Cuba; 2015 Syria)


Books popular in the 1990s

F LP GRI           The partner (setting: Mississippi and Brazil)

F GAB              Outlander (setting: 1740s Scotland; 1945 Scotland)

F KIN                The green mile (setting: death row inmates)

F MAR             A game of thrones (#1 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series)

F OBR              The things they carried (setting: Vietnam War)

B MCC MCC    Angela’s ashes (setting: depression era; Limerick, Ireland)

B SCH ALB       Tuesdays with Morrie

F TN CHB         The perks of being a wallflower (teens coming-of-age)

F TN PUL          The golden compass (setting: fantasy fiction)

F TN THO         Concrete Rose (prequel to The Hate U Give)

September 1980s - Topic Ideas


In September we move on to the1980s. Technology, materialism, and conservatism were among the highlights of the 1980s.











September Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)

JF PAR              A long walk to water (setting: 1985; Sudan)

JF Tar               I survived the eruption of Mount St. Helen’s, 1980

J636.80 MYR  Dewey, the library cat: a true story (setting 1980’s Iowa)


F TN BRU         Tell the wolves I’m home (setting: 1987; New York)

F TN CLI           Ready player one (setting: Columbus, Ohio; 2045 – featuring 1980s nostalgia)

F TN ROW       Eleanor & Park (setting: 1986; Omaha, Nebraska)

F TN LOC         Family of liars (setting: 1987; Massachusetts)


F ARC               Next in line (setting: 1988; London)

F GAY               What remains of me (setting: 1980, 2010; California)

F MCK              Murder most grave (setting: 1980s; Georgia)

F ORW             Nineteen eighty four (setting: 1984; in a dystopian Oceania)

F REI                Carrie Soto is back (setting: 1989, 1995; USA)

F REI                Malibu rising (setting: 1983; Malibu, California)

F SAN               Buried prey (setting: 1985; Minnesota)

F SHI                The Clover Girls (setting: 1980s; Michigan & a reunion a few decades later)

F SKE                The Paris library (setting: 1939, Paris; 1980s Montana)

F SMI               Golden age (setting: 1987; Iowa, and other locations)

F STJ                The sun down motel (setting: 1982 & 2017; Upstate New York)


NEW F CAR      Only the dead (setting: 1980; Washington, DC; Moscow)

NEW F SAG      The only one left (setting: 1929 & 1983; Maine)


F LP JOY           The music shop (setting: 1988; England)

F LP MAK         The spice box letters (setting: 1915, Turkey; 1985, Greece)

F LP MCC         The passenger (setting: 1980; Mississippi)


B CON CON     In the shadow of the valley (setting: 1980s; Appalachia)

B MOS MOS    Crawl of fame: Julie Moss and the fifteen feet that created an Ironman triathlon legend

B REA WEI       Ronald Reagan


027.479 ORL   The library book (setting: based on 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire)

345.766 GRI    The innocent man: murder and injustice in a small town (setting: 1982; Oklahoma)

364.1 HAM      South Dakota’s Mathis murders: Horror in the Heartland (setting: 1981; South Dakota)

364.152 EIS     The third rainbow girl: the long life of a double murder in Appalachia (setting: 1980, 1993; West Virginia)


       LP MYR     Dewey: the small-town library cat who touched the world (setting: 1980s; Iowa) 

796.323 FEI     The legends club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an epic college basketball rivalry (setting: 1980s North Carolina)

975.8 BER        Midnight in the garden of good and evil: a Savannah story (setting: 1980s; Savannah, Georgia)


August 1970s - Topic Ideas

In August we move on to the 1970s.This was a decade full of wars, riots, coups, abductions, and assassinations in Vietnam, Nigeria, Jordan, Canada, Poland, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Sudan, Israel, Philippines, Chile, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Argentina, Cambodia, Lebanon, Angola, Indonesia, South Africa, Germany, Uganda, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The decade also included a massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Watergate scandal and resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. Space exploration, computer technology advances, the Roe v. Wade decision, and the beginning of the EPA were significant events. Other highlights include:


1971 1972  1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

August Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)

JF BLU                        Are you There God? It’s me, Margaret (setting: 1970; New Jersey)
JF MCD                      Julie tells her story (setting: 1976: California)
JF GN HOL                 Swing it, Sunny (setting: 1970s)
JB PET GER              The man who walked between the towers (setting: 1974; New York City)
J 364.15 KIM              Disappearance of skyjacker D.B. Cooper (setting: 1971; Northwest USA)
J 629.45 HAM             Saving Apollo 13
J 791.43 DK                Star Wars made easy
NEW F HAW               The Villa (setting: 1974; Italy)
NEW F LAN                All that is mine I carry with me (setting: 1976)
NEW F MAR               Looking for Jane (setting: 1971, 1980 & 2017; Toronto)
F LP GAR                   On Tall Pine Lake (setting: 1970s; Arkansas)
F LP HAN                   The Great alone (setting: 1974; Alaska)
F IF THO                     Until the harvest (setting: 1970s; West Virginia)
F IF WHI                     The Choice (setting: 1974; Georgia)
F HAN                         The great alone (setting: 1974; Alaska)
F HOS                         The kite runner (setting: early 1970s; Kabul, Afghanistan)
F LAN                          Best to laugh (setting: 1970s; Twin Cities & Hollywood)
F LOG                         Broker (setting: 1979; Minnesota)
F LOU                         The quarry girls (setting: 1977; Minnesota)
F MCM                        The children on the hill (setting: 1978 & 2019; Vermont)
F MON                        Beach house memories (setting: 1974; South Carolina)
F OSB                         The Girls (setting: 1970s)
F PAU                         The lost daughter (setting: 1918-1930s & 1973; Russia and Australia)
F PER                         Take my hand (setting: 1973; Alabama)
F ST                            The book of cold cases (setting: 1977 & 2017; Oregon)
F WAL                         The silver star (setting: 1970s; California & Virginia)
NEW 973.92 KRO      The White House Plumbers: the seven weeks that led to Watergate and doomed Nixon’s presidency
289.9 GUI                   The road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
363.73 OBR                Paradise Falls: the true story of an environmental catastrophe (setting: 1970s; Love Canal, Niagra Falls, NY)
364.152 CEP              Furious hours: murder, fraud, and the last trial of Harper Lee (True crime - setting: 1970s; Alabama)
364.152 HAM             Gitchie Girl (True crime – setting: 1973, Lyon County, Iowa)
973.924 WOO            The last of the president’s men
977.7 DAV                  Sarah’s seasons: an Amish diary & conversation (setting: 1976-1977; Kalona, Iowa)
B DAV DAV                The world according to Fannie Davis: my mother’s life in the Detroit numbers (setting: 1970s; Detroit)
B GAB GAB                A wrestling life: the inspiring stories of Dan Gable
B LOU LOU                Born on the bayou: a memoir (setting: 1970s; Louisiana)
B STI STI                    Downstairs at the White House



July 1960s - Topic Ideas

1960s  - Civil Rights Movement, Hippies, Woodstock & the Swinging Sixties, Space race, British Invasion, assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy & Martin Luther King , escalation of American involvement in Vietnam, Americans step foot on the moon, beginnings of the Internet and Sesame Street.

1960       May 9: The birth control pill becomes commercially available.

                September 1825: The first edition of the Summer Paralympic Games is hosted in Rome.

November 8: The 1960 United States presidential election marks the first televised debates between presidential candidates.


1961       January 20: John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as President of the United States.

April 12: Yuri Gagarin, flying the Vostok 1 spacecraft as part of the Vostok program, becomes the first human in space.

April 1720: Bay of Pigs Invasion by Cuban exiles ends in failure

May 25: In an address to Congress, John F. Kennedy declares the United States' objective of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the decade. This would be in fact achieved by the Apollo Project, despite several challenges and much doubt.

The Great Leap Forward ends in China after the deaths of roughly 20–45 million people.


1962       July 2: Walmart founded in Rogers, Arkansas by Sam Walton.

                October 1629: The Cuban Missile Crisis nearly causes nuclear war.


1963       March 22: The Beatles' first record, Please Please Me, and the beginnings of the British Invasion.

August 28: Martin Luther King Jr. delivers "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

November 22: Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson assumes office as President of the United States.


1964       July 2: Civil Rights Act abolishes segregation in the USA.

August 2: The Gulf of Tonkin incident led to the escalation of U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War.

November 28: NASA launches the Mariner 4 space probe from Cape Kennedy toward Mars to take television pictures of that planet in July 1965.

1965       February 21: Assassination of Malcolm X.

                March 17: The Voting Rights Act of 1965, inspired by the Selma to Montgomery marches.


1966       October 21: The Aberfan disaster, the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip (pile of waste coal mining material) in Aberfan, Wales results in 144 deaths.

Joseph Weizenbaum, a German computer scientist at MIT, completes ELIZA, the first ever chatbot.


1967       May 26: The Beatles release their landmark album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Mid-year: Summer of Love, in which as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions of dress and behavior, converged in San Francisco's neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury.


1968       JanuarySeptember: The Tet Offensive occurs in South Vietnam.

March 16: My Lai massacre, a mass murder and rape of unarmed South Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops in the Vietnam War.            

April 4: Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. during the Poor People's Campaign.

June 5: Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy during the Poor People's Campaign.

September - National Guard deployed to Waterloo, Iowa, after riots.


1969       June 28July 3: The Stonewall riots in New York City instigate the gay rights movement.

July 20: Apollo 11 Moon landing, in which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first two humans on the moon.

August: The Woodstock festival in Bethel, New York, attracts an audience of more than 400,000.

October 29: Creation of Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the earliest incarnation of the Internet.

November 10: Sesame Street premieres its debut episode.


July Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)

J394.261 DEA                     Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

J629.45 WIL                        Spacebusters:

J959.7 WOR                        Tet Offensive

JB BRI BRI                            Through my eyes

JB KIN BOL                           M.L.K. – journey of a king

JB KIN BUL                           Free at last: the story of Martin Luther King, Jr.

JF TAR                                 I survived the attack of the grizzlies, 1967


F TN HIN                              The outsiders (setting: 1965; Tulsa, Oklahoma)


F CAR                                    Whistling past the graveyard (setting: 1963; Mississippi and Tennessee)

F CHA                                    The last house on the street (setting: 1965 and 2010; North Carolina)

F EDW                                   This I know (setting: 1960s; Midwest)

F EVE                                     The education of Dixie Dupree (setting: 1969; Alabama)

F FAD                                    The sunshine girls (setting: 1967 & 2019; Iowa)

F FUL                                     Bitter orange (setting: 1969; England)

F GAR                                    Lessons in chemistry (setting: Early 1960s, California)

F HIL                                      The bookshop of the broken hearted (setting: 1960s; rural Australia)

F HIL                                      Summer of ’69 (setting: 1969, Nantucket)

F HOF                                    Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (setting: 1967; Georgia)

F KID                                      The secret life of bees (setting: 1964, South Carolina)

F KIN                                     11/22/63: a novel (setting: early 1960s, 2011; Maine & Texas)

F KRU                                    Ordinary grace (setting: 1961, Minnesota)

F LUE                                     Missing Isaac (setting: 1960s; Alabama)

F STO                                     The help (setting: 1962, Jackson, Mississippi)


F LP MCB                             Deacon King Kong (setting: 1969; Brooklyn, NY)

F LP WHI                              The nickel boys (setting: early 1960s; Tallahassee, Florida)


B DON DON                        The Greatest beer run ever: a Memoir of friendship, loyalty, and war (setting: 1967; Vietnam)

B KIM KIM                           A girl named Zippy (setting: 1965-1970s; Indiana)

327.127 REE                       A brotherhood of spies: the U-2 and the CIA’s secret war

364.1 CAP                           In cold blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences

629.450 KOP                      The astronaut wives club: a true story (setting: 1960s; Houston)

959.7 BUR                           The Vietnam War: an intimate history

959.7 SMI                            Covert warrior: fighting the CIA’s secret war in Southeast Asia and China, 1965-1967

959.704 BOW                    Huê 1968: a turning point of the American War in Vietnam

973.92 BRO                         Boom: voices of the sixties: personal reflections on the 60’s and today

973.922 DOB                      One minute to midnight:  Kenney, Khrushchev, and Castro on the brink of nuclear war

973.922 KEN                      Thirteen days: memoir of the Cuban missile crisis

973.922 ORE                      Killing Kennedy: the end of Camelot


June 1950s - Topic Ideas

With the Great Depression just a memory and the post WWII economy strong, the 1950s began a time of rapid change in the US. Families were growing fast, giving rise to the baby boomer generation, and began flocking to the suburbs in search of an “idyllic” life amid increasing fears of the atomic bomb. The Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights movement were major news events of the 1950s, but here are a few other noteworthy events:

1950    August 25Bertie the Brain, one of the first computer games, is released.

North Korea invades South Korea in June.  SeptemberNovember: UN forces reclaim Seoul and invade North Korea.

Senator McCarthy’s campaign against alleged communists during the Red Scare which lasted from 1950-1954.

1951    September 8: The Treaty of San Francisco ends the Occupation of Japan and formally  concludes hostilities between Japan and the US.

1952    February 6: Queen Elizabeth II becomes Monarch of the Commonwealth realms.

      Development of the first effective polio vaccine by Jonas Salk.

1953    April 25: Discovery of the three-dimensional structure of DNA.

      Elvis Presley's musical career is launched.

The first color television is produced.

1954    May 17: The Supreme Court of the United States decides Brown v. Board of Education,   ordering an end to racial segregation in public schools.

1955    April 12: The Salk polio vaccine having passed large-scale trials earlier in the United States, receives full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

            The Vietnam War began in November.

            Disneyland opened.   

1957    October 4: Launch of Sputnik 1 and the beginning of the Space Age.

First prescription of the combined oral contraceptive pill.

Beginning of the Asian flu in China, leading to a worldwide pandemic that lasts until the following year.

1958    July 29NASA formed.

      Invention of the optical disc and the cassette tape.

1959    February 3: Rock and roll musicians Ritchie ValensBuddy Holly and The Big Bopper die in  a plane crash.

            First documented AIDS cases.


June Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)


B BRA BRA                   Across Many Mountains (setting: 1950 Tibet)

B BRY BRY                   The life and times of the thunderbolt kid (setting: 1950s, Iowa)

B CHA CHA                  The girl with no name: the incredible story of a child raised by monkeys (setting: 1950s, Colombia)

B PHE PHE                   “Be Home By Dark”: How I earned my Dime Store MBA (setting: 1950s small town Michigan)

B ROW ROW               About my mother: true stories of a horse-crazy daughter and her baseball obsessed mother (setting: 1950s, Baltimore, MD)

616 SKL                                    The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks (setting: 1950s, Maryland and Virginia)

636.1 LP LET                The ride of her life: the true story of a woman, her horse, and their last-chance journey across America (setting: 1956-1956, across the US)

951.904 LP SID            On desperate ground: the Marines at the reservoir, the Korean War’s greatest battle

951.1904 BRA             The Scariest Place in the World: a marine returns to North Korea (memoir: 1950s Korean War)

951.904 DRU               The last stand of Fox Company: a true story of U.S. Marines in combat

951.904 HUT               Sgt. Reckless: America’s War (setting: Korean War – about a horse)

NEW 951.9 MAK         Devotion: an epic story of heroism, friendship, and sacrifice (Setting: Korean War)

F BEN                           Her hidden genius (setting: 1950s, Paris & London)

F GOO                         The Home for Unwanted Girls (setting 1950s Quebec)

F JEN                            Bloomsbury girls (setting: 1950, London)

F JOY                           Miss Benson’s beetle (setting: 1950, London & South Pacific)

F JOS                            The henna artist (setting: 1950s, India)

F OWE                         Where the crawdads sing (setting: 1952 & 1969, North Carolina)

F RIC                            The book woman’s daughter (setting: 1953, Kentucky)

F ROS                           White collar girl (setting: 1955, Chicago)

F SHA                           The frozen hours: a novel of the Korean War (setting: 1950, Korea)

F TAY                           The brighter the light (setting: 1950, North Carolina)

F VAN                          The good dream (setting: 1950s, Tennessee)

F WIN                          The orphans of Mersea House (setting: 1957, England)

F LP BEN                      The swans of Fifth Avenue (setting: 1950s, New York City)

F LP DEF                      An American summer (setting: 1955, Baltimore, MD)

F LP ERD                      The night watchman (setting: 1953, North Dakota & Minnesota)

F LP HUG                     By her own design: a novel of Ann Lowe, fashion designer to the social register (setting: 1953, New York & 1918, Tampa)

F LP LEE                       Go set a watchman (setting: 1950s, Alabama)

F LP OWE                    Where the crawdads sing (setting: 1952 & 1969, North Carolina)

F LP SCH                      The daughters of Erietown (setting: begins in 1957, Ohio)

F LP SEP                       Out of the easy (setting: 1950, New Orleans, Louisiana)

F LP TOW                    The Lincoln Highway (setting: 1954, multiple states)

JF KAD                         kira-kira (setting 1950s Iowa)

JF KEE                          Nancy Drew: The Clue of the Black Keys (published 1951)

JF KEE                          Nancy Drew: The Haunted Showboat (published 1957)

JF KEE                          Nancy Drew: Mystery at the Ski Jump (published 1952)

JF LIN                           Pippi Longstocking (published 1950)

J951.9 RIC                   Korea 1950: Pusan to Chosin

EASY SEU                     Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories (stories originally published in early 1950s)


May 1940s - Topic Ideas

The 1940s is the decade when Depression turns into prosperity, when disillusionment gives way to optimism, when want yields to plenty — and when domestic peace is shattered by world war. The 1940s were defined by World War II, the Holocaust, atomic bombs, and the beginning of the Cold War. Women were needed in the workforce to replace men who went to war, and wartime production pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression. We have no shortage of WW2 books, both non-fiction and historical fiction.  World War II domonated the decade, but there are a few other noteworthy events that happened in the 1940's:


1940    May 15McDonald's founded in San Bernardino, California.

1941    JuneDecember: Hitler commences the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

      December 7: The Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor leads to the USA joining World War II.

1942    The Manhattan Project begins.

            July 5 – Anne Frank goes into hiding

1943    January 15The Pentagon is completed.

            January 18: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

February 2Battle of Stalingrad ends with over two million casualties and the retreat of the German Army.

1944    June 1: First operational electronic computer, Colossus, comes online.

            June 6: D-Day when over 150,000 allied troops landed on beaches in Normandy, France


1945    April 12: President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office, making his vice president, Harry S. Truman the new president

May:  End of World War II in Europe.

      The Holocaust ends after ~12 million deaths, including 6 million Jews.

August: The US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, ending the war in the Pacific

October 8: The microwave cooking oven is patented, with the one of the first prototypes placed at a Boston restaurant for testing.

October 24:  United Nations charter signed by 50 nations.

1947    April 15Jackie Robinson becomes the first baseball player of color.

            Polaroid cameras invented

            June 27:  Dead Sea Scrolls discovered.

1948    June 24Berlin Blockade begins.

1949    June 8George Orwell publishes Nineteen Eighty-Four.


May Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)


F BEL                      The Paris architect (setting: 1942, Paris)

F CHA                    The stolen marriage (setting: 1944, North Carolina)

F DOE                    All the light we cannot see (setting: WWII France & Germany)

F FOR                    Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet (setting: 1940s and 1980s, Seattle)

F FUR                    A hero of France (setting: 1941, France)

F HAR                    The book of lost names (setting: WWII France, 2005 Germany)

F HAR                    The forest of vanishing stars (setting: World War II, Eastern Europe)

F HEA                    Girls of flight city: inspired by true events a novel of WWII, the Royal Air Force, and Texas

F KEL                      Lilac girls (setting: WWII; New York, Paris, Germany, Poland)

F KIE                      The baker’s secret (setting: 1944, Normandy, France)

F MEA                   Dragonfly (setting: World War II, Paris)

F MYE                    The tobacco wives (setting: 1946, North Carolina)

F NEM                   Suite française (setting: 1940, France)

F ORW                  Nineteen eighty four (1984 of the future; London & near-future Oceania)

F QUI                     The rose code (setting: 1940 & 1947, England)  

F RIM                    The things we cannot say (setting: 1942 & 2019, Poland)

F ROB                    The gown: a novel of the royal wedding (setting: 1947, London; 2016, Toronto)

F ROS                    Sarah’s key (setting: 1942, 2002 – Paris)

F SAL                     Angels of the resistance (setting: 1940, Netherlands)

F SHA                    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (setting: 1946, England & The Channel Islands)

F WEI                     Code name Verity (setting: 1943, France)

F WIL                     The golden hour (setting: 1941 Bahamas)


NEW F HLA          The book spy (setting: WWII, New York City & Portugal)

NEW F REA          Go as a river (setting: 1940s, Colorado)

NEW F SAL          Angels of the resistance (setting: WWII, Netherlands)

NEW F SPE          Beyond that, the sea (setting: 1940s London and Boston)

F LP GIL                City of girls (setting: 1940s, New York City)

F IF GRE                Things we didn’t say (setting: WWII, Minnesota)

F LP CAM             The Paris dressmaker (setting: WWII, Paris)

F LP FUR               Under occupation (setting: 1942, Paris)

F LP JEN                The kommandant’s girl (setting: WWII, Poland)


B AIR BRU            The race of aces: WWII’s elite airmen and the epic battle to become the masters of the  sky

B FOU OLS           Madame Fourcade’s secret war: the daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler

B GOI PUR           A woman of no importance: the untold story of the American spy who helped win WWII

B SMI PAP           Inferno: the true story of a B-17 gunner’s heroism and the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history

B ZAM HIL           Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption


NEW 823 KEN    Schindler’s list

341.6                     Enemies within: Iowa POWs in Nazi Germany

940.53 BRA         Three ordinary girls: the remarkable story of three Dutch teenagers who became spies,  saboteurs, Nazi assassins – and WWII heroes

940.53 EDS          The monuments men: Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history

940.53 SUL          The Betrayal of Anne Frank: a cold case investigation

940.53 WIN        1944: FDR and the year that changed history

940.54 AMB       Band of brothers: E company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne: from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s nest

940.54 BRO         The greatest generation

940.54 FEL           Ghost riders: when US and German soldiers fought together to save the world’s most beautiful horses in the last days of World War II

940.54 LOR         The miracle of Dunkirk: the true story of Operation Dynamo

940.54 MUN      Code girls: the untold story of the American women code breakers of World War II

940.54 SAT          We band of brothers: the Sullivans and World War II

940.54 SHA         World War II day by day


F TN HES              Girl in the Blue Coat (setting: WWII, Netherlands)

F TN SEP               Salt to the sea (setting: WWII: East Prussia)


JF LOW                 Number the stars (setting: 1943, Denmark)

JF GN PAL            White bird (setting: World War II, France)

JF GN TAR            I survived the Nazi invasion, 1944             

J940.54 HUE       Voices of World War II: stories from the front line




April - 1930’s – Topic Ideas


The 1930s saw the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl which was the worst drought in American history. While in Europe there was the rise of Hitler and Nazi power in Germany, and the beginnings of World War II.


1930    February 18: Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto.


July 1330: The first FIFA World Cup is hosted in Uruguay.


1931    March 3: "The Star-Spangled Banner" is adopted as the United States's national anthem.


            May 1: Empire State Building completed.


June: Floods in China kill up to 2.5 million people.


1932    March 1: Lindbergh baby kidnapping.


The neutron is discovered by James Chadwick.


1933    Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated to fourth term as President of the United States.


December 5Prohibition in the United States is abolished.


1934    May 23Bonnie and Clyde are shot to death in a police ambush.


August 2: With the death of President Hindenburg, Hitler declares himself Führer of Germany.


1935    September 15: Enactment of the anti-Semitic Nuremberg racial laws.


1936    December 11: After a reign shorter than one year, Edward VIII abdicates and hands the throne to his brother, George VI.


The Hoover Dam is completed.


George Nissen and Larry Griswold build the first modern trampoline.


1937    May 6: German zeppelin Hindenburg crashes in Lakehurst, New Jersey, ending the airship era.


            September 21: J. R. R. Tolkien publishes The Hobbit.


            December 21: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first feature-length animated movie released.


1938    April 18DC Comics hero Superman has its first appearance.


            November 910: Kristallnacht, a pogrom, killing over 90 Jews in Germany while destroying 267 synagogues, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses.


      DecemberTime Magazine declares Adolf Hitler as Man of the Year.


1939    August 25: Release date of MGM's The Wizard of Oz.


September 1OctoberNazi invasion of Poland triggers World War II in Europe. Soviet  invasion of Poland begins 16 days later.


September 3: Britain and France declare war on Germany; World War II begins.


            December 15: Release date of Gone with the Wind.



 April Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)


NEW F FRE                The Lindbergh nanny (setting: 1932, New Jersey.)
F LP ALL                     A long petal of the sea (setting: 1930s)
F LP BRO                   Rainwater (1934, Gilead, Texas)
F LP TOW                   Rules of civility (setting: 1938, New York City)
F LP WAL                   Half broke horses (setting: first half of 20th century, Arizona)
F BEA                         Florence Adler swims forever (setting: New Jersey, 1934)
F BEN                         The Mitford affair (setting: 1930s, England)
F DAL                          The Persian pickle club (setting: 1930s, Kansas)
F EVE                         The saints of Swallow Hill (1930s, North Carolina & Georgia)
F GAR                         By starlight (setting: 1931, Montana)
F GWI                         Promise (setting: 1936, Tupelo, Mississippi)
F HAN                         The nightingale (setting: 1939, France)
F HAN (and in LP)      The four winds (setting: 1934-1936, Texas)
F KIN                           The green mile (setting: 1932, Cold Mountain Penitentiary)
F KLI                           Orphan train (setting: Depression-era Minnesota, and 2011 Maine)
F KRU (and in LP)      This tender land (setting: 1932, Minnesota & down the Mississippi River)
F LEE                          To kill a Mockingbird (setting: 1933, Alabama)
F LET                          Finding Dorothy (setting: 1938, Hollywood)
F QUI                          The diamond eye (setting: 1937, Ukraine, America)
F RIC                          The book woman of Troublesome Creek (setting: 1936, Kentucky)
F STE                          Grapes of wrath (setting: 1930s, Oklahoma & California)
F TOL                          The Hobbit, or There and back again
F TOW                        Rules of civility (setting 1938, New York City)
F WAL                         The color purple (setting: 1930s Georgia)
F WIN                          Before we were yours (setting: 1939, Memphis)



B NEW NEW              Diamonds at dinner: my life as a lady’s maid in a 1930s stately home

(setting: 1930s, England)

B ROO JEN                Franklin Delano Roosevelt


NEW B SPI SPI          Maus I & II : a survivor’s tale (1930s Poland, and 1970s, New York City)


305.23 BRO               The Orphans of Davenport: eugenics, the Great Depression, and the war   

                                    over children’s intelligence


798.4 HIL                    Seabiscuit: an American legend (setting: 1938, USA)


979.12 BRO                The boys in the boat: nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the

1936 Berlin Olympics


929.9 SED                  Star-spangled banner: our nation & its flag


943.08 LP LAR           In the garden of beasts: love, terror, and an American family in Hitler’s



978 EGA                     The worst hard time: the untold story of those who survived the great

American dust bowl



JF BAU                       The Wizard of Oz


JF TAR                        I survived the Hindenburg disaster, 1937


J811 KAL                    The Star-spangled banner


March - 1920’s – Topic Ideas


1920s    From the 1920s-1950s Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee  Children’s Home Society in Memphis. More than 5000 children (many who weren’t actually orphans) were trafficked.

1920       January 17: Prohibition in the United States begins.

                May 21: The Mexican Revolution ends.

                19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.

                National Football League is formed.

1921       January 25: Premiere of the science-fiction play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), in which the word "robot" was first used.

                May 31-June 1:  Tulsa race riot.

July 29: Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of the Nazi Party as hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic begins.

1922       November 4Howard Carter discovers Tutankhamen's tomb.

1923       October 16: The Walt Disney Company is founded.

1924       January 25February 5: The first edition of the Winter Olympic Games is hosted in Chamonix,  France.

May 10: The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation founded under J. Edgar Hoover.

The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held.

1925       July 18: Hitler's Mein Kampf is published.

                Nellie Tayloe Ross elected governor of Wyoming and is first female governor in the USA.

1926       June 19: National Broadcasting Company (NBC) founded in New York City as first nationwide radio broadcasting system.

1927      May 18: The Bath School disaster, a series of violent attacks by Andrew Kehoe results in 45 deaths in Michigan, USA.

May 2021: Charles Lindbergh performs the first nonstop flight from New York City to  Paris; becomes a world hero.

October 4Mount Rushmore construction begins in South Dakota, U.S.

1928       September 3: Accidental rediscovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming.

                November 18: Steamboat Willie, is the first appearance of Mickey Mouse.

                Bubble gum is invented.

1929       February 14: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago

May 16: The first Academy Awards are presented.

October 2429: Wall Street crash of 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression.


March Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)

F BRO                    Blind tiger (setting: 1920s, Texas)

F WIL                     A Certain age (setting: 1920s, New York City)

F ZEL                      The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights (setting:  1924, Brooklyn; late 19th C Russia; 1910s New Orleans)

F LP TOW             A Gentleman in Moscow (setting: 1922, Russia)

F SCH                     Last call at the Nightingale (setting: 1924, New York City)

F STE                      The Light between oceans  (setting: 1920s, Australia)

F ARM                   The Light of Luna Park (setting: 1926, New York City; 1951)

F LP DAV              The Magnolia palace (setting:  1920s & current day, New York City)

New F PAU         The Manhattan Girls: a novel of Dorothy Parker and her friends (setting: 1921, New York City)

F ROB                    Moonlight over Paris (setting:  1924, Paris)

F BEN                    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie (setting: 1926, England)

F RIN                     The Other typist  (setting: 1923, New York City)

F MCL                    The Paris wife (setting: 1920s, Paris)

F SKE                     The Second life of Mirielle West (setting: 1920s, Hollywood, and Louisiana leper colony)

F KLA                     Villa America (setting: 1920s, France)


B LIN KES             The Flight of the century: Charles Lindbergh & the rise of American aviation

B LIN LIN              The Spirit of St. Louis (Charles Lindbergh’s account of his transatlantic crossing in 1927)

362.73 CHR         Before and after: the incredible real-life stories of orphans who survived the Tennessee  Children’s Home Society (setting: 1920s-1950s, Tennessee and USA)

363.17 MOO      The Radium Girls (setting: America, 1917 through the 1920s)

364.132 MCC     Prohibition in Eastern Iowa (setting: 1920—1933, Iowa)

630.9773 MEY   Days on the Family Farm: from the Golden Age through the Great Depression (setting: 1901-1930s, Illinois)

918.1 GRA           The Lost city of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon (setting: 1925, South America)

919.89 SHA         The stowaway: a young man’s extraordinary adventure to Antarctica (setting, 1928, New York, Antarctica)

932 SAN               Egyptology: search for the tomb of Osiris: being the journal of Miss Emily Sands, November 1926 (setting: 1926, Egypt)

973.91 BRY          One summer: America, 1927

976.60 GRA        Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI (setting: 1920s Oklahoma)


J384 FAN             The Disney book: a celebration of the World of Disney

J384.8 PAS          The Story of Disney

J796.357 NEL     We Are the ship: the story of Negro League baseball (setting: 1920s, USA)

J978.3 BRO         Mount Rushmore




F TN LOW        The Giver (1994 Newbery winner)

F TN MCL        The lost causes of Bleak Creek (setting: 1992; North Carolina)

F TN ROW       Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone (first published in 1997)



You have a lot of leeway with your interpretation of a book relating to the decade(s)! Adults and children can participate! Remember, if you find a book you’d like to read that we don’t have in our library, we can get it from another library for free, or look on Bridges/Libby for an e-book or audiobook


You can pick up a log sheet at the circulation desk to keep track of your books each month (or if you are not in town we can email you the info). We will also have a list of topics and book ideas, or just ask and we can help you find something! We will be giving away gifts to those who complete the challenge! We hope you have FUN with this challenge as Traer celebrates our 150 years!






 February  - 1900’s – 1910s – Topic Ideas


1901-1910 Immigration hit an all-time peak with over 8.8 million immigrants in the 10 years from 1901-1910.

1900       Galveston Hurricane in Texas kills 8000 people, making it the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed and 25% of the population were left homeless.

                L. Frank Baum publishes The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The first edition’s 10,000 copies quickly sold out. It was adapted as a Broadway musical in 1902, and in 1939 the classic film with Judy Garland was released.

1901       Sept 6 - Assassination of William McKinley. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt assumes office as President of the United States following McKinley's death on September 14.

                England’s Queen Victoria who ruled for 64 years, also died this year.

                First Nobel Prizes awarded.

1903       December 17: First controlled heavier-than-air flight of the Wright Brothers.

1906       April 18: An earthquake in San Francisco, California, magnitude 7.9, kills 3,000, and destroys 80% of the city.

1907       Bakelite, the world's first fully synthetic plastic, invented in New York by Leo Baekeland, who coins the term "plastics".

1908       October 1: The Ford Motor Company invents the Model T.

                First commercial radio transmissions.

1910       April: Halley's Comet returns.

1911       March 25: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City results in the deaths of 146 workers and leads to sweeping workplace safety reforms.

1912       April 15: Sinking of the RMS Titanic after it struck an iceberg.  Over 1500 passengers and crewmembers were killed.

1914       July 28: World War I begins.

1915       The first large scale use of poison gas by both sides in World War I occurs, first by the Germans at the Battle of Bolimów on the eastern front, and at the Second Battle of Ypres on the western front, and then by the British at the Battle of Loos.

                A torpedo from a German U-boat sank the Lusitania killing over 1000 people.

1917       April 6: USA joins the Entente for the last 17 months of World War I

                MayOctober: Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal.

1918       July 1617: Assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

                The Armistice of 11 November 1918 ends World War I.

                The Spanish Flu infected approximately one-third of the world’s population, and killed an estimated 20 million-50 million people, including 675,000 Americans.


February Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)

F LET                     Finding Dorothy  (fictional account behind the making of the movie “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”)
F MEI                     The nature of fragile things  (setting: 1906, San Francisco)
F GAY                    The girl who came home: a novel of the Titanic  (setting: 1912 & 1987, Titanic survivor)
F SHR                    Stella Bain: a novel  (setting: 1914-1918, London & America)
New F LP CHI         Switchboard soldiers  (setting: 1917, France)
F LP STE                A good woman  (1912-1918, New York City; France)
F MCP                    The Seamstress of New Orleans  (1900; New Orleans)
F MOY                    The girl you left behind  (setting: 1916, Paris; 2006)
F MAS                    The winter soldier  (setting:  1914, Vienna)
F DAL                     Little Souls  (setting: 1918, Colorado)
F MEI                      As bright as heaven  (setting: 1918, Philadelphia; Spanish Flu)
F WIS                     The orphan collector  (setting: 1918, Philadelphia)
F DON                    The pull of the stars  (setting: 1918, Ireland)
TN F ALE               The kitchen boy  (setting:  1918, Russia)
F SMI                      A tree grows in Brooklyn  (setting: 1900-1918, Brooklyn, New York)
F LP DAV               The magnolia palace  (setting:  1919 and 1966, New York City)
F LP DAV               The lions of fifth avenue  (setting: 1913 & 1993, New York City)
F QUI                     The Alice Network  (setting: 1915 and 1947, France)
F BEN                    The personal librarian  (setting:  1905, New York City)
F TUR                    Light changes everything  (setting: 1907, Arizona Territory & Illinois)
F LP WAL              The cold millions  (setting: 1909, Spokane, WA)
F GAY                    A memory of violets: a novel of London’s flower sellers (setting: 1912 & 1876, England)
F LP WIL                Band of sisters  (setting: 1917, France)
F LP KEL               Lost Roses (setting: 1914, St. Petersberg, Russia; Paris; USA)
B STE STE             Letters of a Woman Homesteader (setting: 1909-1913, Wyoming)
B ROO AUC           Theodore Roosevelt
B WRI MCC            The Wright Brothers
362.12   LOR         A night to remember  (setting: 1912, England, and Atlantic Ocean aboard the Titanic)
363.12 MAR          Titanic  (setting: 1912)
363.12 BRY          The Titanic disaster: as reported in the British national press April-July 1912
363.17   MOO       The radium girls (setting: 1917 through 1920s, USA)
910 MOW             Sinking of the Titanic: eyewitness accounts (1912)
917.3 GUI             The Vagabonds: the story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s ten-year road trip
940.4 LAR            Dead wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania  (setting:  1915, aboard the Lusitania)
 940.47 MOO       No man’s land: the trailblazing women who ran Britain’s most extraordinary military
        hospital during World War I
947.08 RAP         The Romanov sisters: the lost lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
AUD CD 918.1 MIL   The River of doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s darkest journey (setting: 1912, Brazil)
J 551.55                World’s Worst Hurricanes
JF TAR                  The Galveston hurricane, 1900 (I Survived #21)
JF BUR                  The Secret Garden  (setting: 1910, Yorkshire, England)
JF BAU                  The Wizard of OZ: Great Illustrated Classics
JB WRI SOB          The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
JF TAR                   I survived the San Francisco earthquake, 1906
J940.4 HEI             Voices of World War I: stories from the trenches



January  - 1870’s – 1890s – Topic Ideas

1865 – 1900s – The “Wild West”

                Notorious for gunslingers, outlaws, train robberies, westward expansion and gritty lawmen

1880-1900 – The “Gilded Age”

A time when things were glittering on the surface, but with shaky foundations and corruption underneath. The US experienced rapid growth in population and industry. Skyscrapers became commonplace, as did trolleys, cable cars, and subways. Unhealthy and dangerous working conditions arose leading to labor strikes and the formation of labor unions.

1873 – Blue Jeans & Barbed Wire invented

                Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented a method of reinforcing work pants with metal rivets.

                Joseph Glidden applied for patent for double stranded barbed wire.

                Both of these items had major impact for the settlers moving west.

1876 – Battle of Little Big Horn

The battle was fought on June 25, 1976, in Montana near the Little Big Horn River.  General George Custer led 600 federal troops against around 3000 Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors.

1879 – Light bulb invented

Thomas Edison publicly demonstrated an incandescent light bulb. In 1880, he created the first strand of electric lights and strung them outside during the Christmas season. It wasn’t until 1895 when President Grover Cleveland spurred the acceptance of indoor Christmas lighst by having them in the White House.

1881 – Outlaw Billy the Kid shot and killed by a lawman in the New Mexico Territory. Several months later, outlaw Doc Holliday and lawman Wyatt Earp were involved in a gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ. 

1881 – American Red Cross

Clara Barton founded the Red Cross after learning about a similar organization in Switzerland

1883 - Brooklyn Bridge opened on May 24, 1885

At the time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.  It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River.

1886 – The Statue of Liberty constructed on Liberty Island.

The statue was first built in France, then disassembled and shipped to New York City in 1885.

1887 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle debuted his literary detective Sherlock Holmes

                Doyle went on to write four novels and 56 short stories about Sherlock Holmes.

1888 – Jack the Ripper murders occur in London

The unsolved murders of five women occurred that autumn. Over the next four years perhaps a dozen others were committed by the same person.


1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota

This was the last battle in the American Indian Wars, and represented the end of the American Old West.

1891 – Carnegie Hall in New York City opens.

One of the most prestigious facilities in the world, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest artists. It was built by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who also funded the building of many small-town public libraries across the country.

1892 – Basketball invented

James Naismith, a physical education teacher, created the games using two half-bushel peach baskets.

1893 – Chicago hosted the World’s Fair. The fair debuted the first Ferris Wheel.

1896 – Olympic Games revived in Athens

The games originally were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.  The modern era began with the formation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894.

1896 – Gold discovered in the Klondike region of Alaska.

When news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a stampede of prospectors. Roughly 100,000 people of dreams of striking rich flocked to Alaska, although only around 30,000 completed the journey.  Some became wealthy, but the majority went in vain.

1898 – Spanish American War

The American Battleship USS Maine exploded in the harbor at Havana, Cuba.  This mysterious event lead to the US going to war with Spain.