We hope these selections serve to educate and encourage a dialogue around worker’s rights and the labor movement both here in the United States and around the world.

Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights by Deborah Hopkinson

At 31, Frances Perkins witnessed the Triangle Waist Factory fire in 1911, one of the worst industrial disasters in U.S. history. The event forever changed her, and while some activists pressed factory owners for change, Frances actually got to work and joined the fight for workers’ rights. This informational picture book combines stories from Perkins life with Kristy Caldwell’s appealing illustrations.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Hoopla)

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

The true story of the young immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history. This picture book biography about the plight of immigrants in America in the early 1900s and the timeless fight for equality and justice. This picture book biography about Ukrainian immigrant Clara Lemlich tackles topics like activism and the U.S. garment industry.

Available formats: Book, Audiobook (Hoopla), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Browns cows find a typewriter and begin to leave the farmer notes about the farm. They want a warmer barn and decide to go on strike until this happens. A whimsical look at overcoming differences and working through problems peacefully.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Hoopla)

Night Job by Karen Hesses

When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad.

Available formats: Book

The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee

When the babysitter is unable to come, Daniel is woken out of bed and joins his parents as they head downtown for their jobs as nighttime office cleaners. But the story is about more than brooms, mops, and vacuums. Mama and Papa turn the deserted office building into a magnificent kingdom filled with paper. Then they weave a fantasy of dragons and kings to further engage their reluctant companion–and even encourage him to one day be the king of a paper kingdom.

Available formats: Book

I Like, I Don’t Like by Anna Baccelliere

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child in the world has the right to play. Unfortunately, that universal right is not always respected. This picture book presents this reality to readers by showing how children in varying circumstances can see the same object very differently.  Stark illustrations that perfectly capture the tone of the book which will inspire meaningful discussions about privilege and poverty

Available formats: Book

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan and R. Gregory Christie

This picture book tells the story of a nine-year-old girl who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination – when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest.

Available formats: Book

Side By Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and César Chavez by Monica Brown and Joe Cepeda

This bilingual picture book has text in Spanish and English and explores what happened when Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez met. Together, they fought for the rights of countless farmworkers. Side by side, inspiring hope, they changed history.

Available formats: Book

Mother Jones And Her Army of Mill Children by Jonah Winter

This picture book biography shares the story of Mother Jones, an Irish immigrant who was essential in the fight to create child labor laws. Well into her sixties, Mother Jones had finally had enough of children working long hours in dangerous factory jobs, and decided she was going to do something about it. The powerful protests she organized earned her the name “the most dangerous woman in America.” And in the Children’s Crusade of 1903, she lead one hundred boys and girls on a glorious march from Philadelphia right to the front door of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Long Island home.

Available formats: Book

Me and Momma and Big John by Mara Rockliff and William Low

Momma comes home from work, tired and sore from a long day at her job. She used to work on the factory line, but now an early bus takes her across the bridge into New York City. Momma is a stonecutter now, helping to build the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. She works all day on just one stone, and little John and his two sisters wonder how she does it. Finally, Momma’s stone is finished, and little John can’t wait to see it. But when he arrives at the cathedral, he’s confused. Where is Momma’s name? How will all the people know this is Momma’s art? This touching story from a child’s perspective, based on real events, lovingly shows the grace and dignity of having pride in one’s work — and in one’s Momma.

Available formats: Book

Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights by Mary Cronk Farrell 

Fannie Sellins lived during the Gilded Age of American Industrialization, when the Carnegies and Morgans wore jewels while their laborers wore rags. Fannie dreamed that America could achieve its ideals of equality and justice for all, and she sacrificed her life to help that dream come true. Fannie became a union activist, helping to create St. Louis, Missouri, Local 67 of the United Garment Workers of America. She traveled the nation and eventually gave her life, calling for fair wages and decent working and living conditions for workers in both the garment and mining industries.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Kids Have Rights Too! by Janine Scott

This informational text discusses the basic rights of children, which include such rights as the right to be protected, to be educated, to have an adequate standard of living, and to be treated justly.

Available formats: Book

The Radium Girls Young Readers’ Edition by Kate Moore

Amid the excitement of the early twentieth century, hundreds of young women spend their days hard at work painting watch dials with glow-in-the-dark radium paint. The painters consider themselves lucky, until they start suffering from a mysterious illness. As the corporations try to cover up a shocking secret, these shining girls suddenly find themselves at the center of a deadly scandal. This informational book explores worker safety and rights in the early twentieth century.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Uprising  by Margaret Peterson Haddix

In 1927, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly recalls her experiences at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including the miserable working conditions that led to a strike and the fire that took the lives of her two best friends.

Available formats: Book, Audiobook (Hoopla)

Bread and Roses, Too  by Katherine Paterson

Rosa’s mother is singing again, for the first time since Papa died in an accident in the mills. But instead of filling their cramped tenement apartment with Italian lullabies, Mamma is out on the streets singing union songs, and Rosa is terrified that her mother and older sister, Anna, are endangering their lives by marching against the corrupt mill owners.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Hoopla), eBook

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Mia’s parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.  Mia needs to navigate this difficult home life, keep her job, and develop her skills as a budding author.  Asian American author Kelly Yang shares their identity with the main character in this novel.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand),Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)



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