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



by
Michelle Markel
illustrated by
Melissa Sweet

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Balzer + Bray
ISBN
9780061804427

Awards and Honors
Booklist 2013 Lasting Connections, Social Studies; SLJs Best Books of 2013, Nonfiction; 2014 Sydney Taylor Notable Book, Younger Readers; 2014 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book; 2014 Amelia Bloomer Project List, Early Readers Nonfiction, Top Ten; 2014 Flora Straus Award; 2014 Jane Addams Book Award Winner, Younger Children
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We must do something . . . huge.” Immigrant Clara Lemlich, a garment worker in New York City, organized “the largest walkout of women workers in U.S. history.” Further information about the garment industry. Selected bibliography. Full-color watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media illustrations.

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None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

32

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 10 1/2"

Dewey

331.892/887115097471

AR

5: points 0.5

Lexile

AD760L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

2

JLG Release

Jun 2013

Book Genres


Topics

Clara Lemlich (1886-1982). New York City. Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909. Strikes and lockouts. Clothing trade. New York State. Women clothing workers. Women in the labor movement. U.S. immigrants. Poor and unfair working conditions. Formation of unions.

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This picture-book biography of Clara Lemlich, a spitfire who fought hard for better working conditions, is an engaging, informative introduction to her activism as well as to the deplorable state of the U.S. garment industry in the early 1900s. Ukrainian-born Lemlich came to the United States with her parents to escape the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, only to be thrust into another appalling nightmare: the American shirtwaist factories. She began on a small scale to encourage her coworkers to strike, but at a union meeting, when even men wouldn’t call for a walkout, she rose and shouted to the large gathering that the time for a strike was now, inspiring tens of thousands of women to leave their stations in the factories. Markel’s style is clean and clear, making Lemlich’s story accessible to a young audience. Readers are treated to solid information with a buoyant message about standing up for what is right. Sweet has created an outstanding backdrop for Markel’s text with a vibrant collage of watercolor, gouache, blank dress-pattern paper, bookkeeping pages, stitches, and fabric pieces. This spirited account concludes with additional material on the garment industry and a solid bibliography. A first purchase.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR

SLJ’s Best Books December 2013, Nonfiction
Clara Lemlich and her family came to the U.S. for a better life, but the only job available for Clara was as a badly treated garment worker. She convinced the factory girls to form a union and organized her coworkers to go out on strike, the largest in U.S. history. Markel and Sweet stitch together vivid words and images to create an uplifting and empowering slice of American history.

Horn Book

The plight of early-twentieth-century female garment workers is brought to life in this biography of labor leader Clara Lemlich. To escape persecution in their native Ukraine, the Jewish Lemlichs immigrated to New York City, where young Clara quickly found work in a shirtwaist factory. Outraged by the dangerous and unfair working conditions, Clara successfully instigated a city-wide strike. In her simple but powerful text Markel shows how multiple arrests, serious physical attacks, and endless misogyny failed to deter this remarkable woman as she set off on her lifelong path as a union activist. Clara’s story is accentuated by Sweet’s vivid illustrations, many of which are presented on fabric scraps or torn paper with borders of machine stitching. Particularly riveting is a bird’s-eye view of a factory floor filled with hundreds of workers set opposite a series of spot illustrations highlighting some of the dreadful conditions the women endured (including being locked in during the day—the cause of the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire deaths). For those wanting to know more, an author’s note and source notes follow the story. monica edinger

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This picture-book biography of Clara Lemlich, a spitfire who fought hard for better working conditions, is an engaging, informative introduction to her activism as well as to the deplorable state of the U.S. garment industry in the early 1900s. Ukrainian-born Lemlich came to the United States with her parents to escape the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, only to be thrust into another appalling nightmare: the American shirtwaist factories. She began on a small scale to encourage her coworkers to strike, but at a union meeting, when even men wouldn’t call for a walkout, she rose and shouted to the large gathering that the time for a strike was now, inspiring tens of thousands of women to leave their stations in the factories. Markel’s style is clean and clear, making Lemlich’s story accessible to a young audience. Readers are treated to solid information with a buoyant message about standing up for what is right. Sweet has created an outstanding backdrop for Markel’s text with a vibrant collage of watercolor, gouache, blank dress-pattern paper, bookkeeping pages, stitches, and fabric pieces. This spirited account concludes with additional material on the garment industry and a solid bibliography. A first purchase.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR

SLJ’s Best Books December 2013, Nonfiction
Clara Lemlich and her family came to the U.S. for a better life, but the only job available for Clara was as a badly treated garment worker. She convinced the factory girls to form a union and organized her coworkers to go out on strike, the largest in U.S. history. Markel and Sweet stitch together vivid words and images to create an uplifting and empowering slice of American history.

Horn Book

The plight of early-twentieth-century female garment workers is brought to life in this biography of labor leader Clara Lemlich. To escape persecution in their native Ukraine, the Jewish Lemlichs immigrated to New York City, where young Clara quickly found work in a shirtwaist factory. Outraged by the dangerous and unfair working conditions, Clara successfully instigated a city-wide strike. In her simple but powerful text Markel shows how multiple arrests, serious physical attacks, and endless misogyny failed to deter this remarkable woman as she set off on her lifelong path as a union activist. Clara’s story is accentuated by Sweet’s vivid illustrations, many of which are presented on fabric scraps or torn paper with borders of machine stitching. Particularly riveting is a bird’s-eye view of a factory floor filled with hundreds of workers set opposite a series of spot illustrations highlighting some of the dreadful conditions the women endured (including being locked in during the day—the cause of the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire deaths). For those wanting to know more, an author’s note and source notes follow the story. monica edinger

Grades 2-6
Nonfiction Elementary Plus
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14 books per Year
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Interests
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