I have read so much about this incredible book, and I was delighted to win an autographed copy through one of my favorite blogs, Teaching Authors. Michelle’s inscription reads: “For Kirsten, Be bold, brave and fearless with your writing!”
AUTHOR: Michelle Markel
ILLUSTRATOR: Melissa Sweet
PUBLICATION INFO: HarperCollins’ Balzer + Bray, 2013
SOURCE: author-provided copy
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 4 through 9
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“A steamship pulls into the harbor, carrying hundreds of immigrants — and a surprise for New York City.”
From the publisher’s Web site:
“When Clara Lemlich arrived in America, she couldn’t speak English. She didn’t know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.
But that did not stop Clara.
She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a factory.
Clara never quit. And she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little.
So Clara fought back. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers in the country’s history.
Clara had learned a lot from her short time in America. She learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.”
THEMES/TOPICS: history, immigration, labor relations, biography
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Markel’s expertly crafted text begins with the promise of a new and better life in America and ends with the fulfillment of that promise through one girl’s grit, determination and bravery. Markel includes a bibliography of primary and secondary sources and backmatter on the garment industry. Sweet’s illustrations are a perfect match for the story, giving the book a personal,scrapbook-like quality.
- The Library of Congress has a labor union lesson plan for middle and high school students called “United We Stand.”
- The New York Times Learning Network has an extensive page about the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
- Wright State University has this 10th-grade lesson plan.
- Northern Illinois University has collected an extensive list of links and lesson plans on the topic.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.