Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 (Hardcover)
The true story of the young immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
This picture book biography about Ukrainian immigrant Clara Lemlich tackles topics like activism and the U.S. garment industry. The art, by Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet, beautifully incorporates stitching and fabric. A bibliography and an author's note on the garment industry are included.
When Clara 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 didn't stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory.
Clara never quit, and she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen.
From her short time in America, Clara 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.
This picture book biography about the plight of immigrants in America in the early 1900s and the timeless fight for equality and justice should not be missed.
“The zingy images masterfully (and appropriately) incorporate fabric and stitches as well as old images of checks and time cards … This book has fighting spirit in spades-you go, Clara!”
“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.”
“Sweet incorporates images of assorted fabrics and stitch patterns into her tender illustrations, brightening the lives of workers whose reality was bleak.”
“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.”
“Markel ably brings to life the plight of immigrant garment workers and Clara’s courageous advocacy.”
At her parents’ wit’s end, 15 year old Wren is sent away to a last-chance desert survival camp due to her out-of-control weed-smoking, alcoholic bingeing, petty thievery and lying. The camp counselors (“jailers”) use tough love, directness and surprising storytelling-therapy to try to straighten out the wayward teens in the camp. Wren bristles at everyone who tries to help her, and her hard won survival skills – finding water, making fire – coupled with her own breakdown and realization that she was heading down the extreme wrong path is painful with hidden truths. The quest to find oneself in the desert is just the beginning of Wren’s story to find the correct path in life, once home. This book will resonate with both wayward teens, perhaps exploring the darker side of their misdeeds, as well as a teen looking for an adventurous read. - Maureen