Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 (Hardcover)
Winter 2012 Kids Next List
“Immigrant Clara Lemlich finds herself working in appalling conditions in a shirt-making factory in New York City. Rather than accept her fate, Clara joins fellow workers in striking against the company and their conditions. What begins small spreads throughout the country. This is an excellent historical portrayal that does justice to the immigrant work experience.”
— Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC
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!”
-Booklist (starred review)
“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.”
-The Horn Book