Books, History

Perfect Picture Book Friday: BRAVE GIRL

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!”

TITLE: Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

AUTHOR: Michelle Markel

ILLUSTRATOR: Melissa Sweet

PUBLICATION INFO: HarperCollins’ Balzer + Bray, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-180442-7

SOURCE: author-provided copy

INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 4 through 9

GENRE: nonfiction


“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.


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.

12 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: BRAVE GIRL”

  1. I love a strong female role model book. I wish I’d read more of them when I was little.

  2. I so want to read this book. It reminds me of my grandmother. Lovely review and an important topic kids need to know about. It was a sad period in our history, but one that brought forth many bold, strong women.

  3. Sounds like a great book! I like that it begins with a promise and answers the promise. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. I, too, wonder why there is still a question in people’s minds about a woman’s ability to succeed. There are so many great women out there…past and present. Thanks so much, Kirsten, for a great PPBF pick!

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