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

Reviewed by Amanda K (Library Staff)

Brave Girl Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel is a fabulous picture book about young girl name Clara Lemlich. Clara immigrates to the United States 1903. She doesn’t speak English and her family is poor. Like many poor immigrant families, Clara takes job sewing in a factory instead of going to school. She works from dust to dawn sewing. At night, she goes to the library to learn to read. The factory conditions are horrible and factory workers are locked inside. Clara only gets a few hours a night to sleep. She makes friends with the other factory girls and urges them to strike and they do! Clara faces many obstacles, like being arrested and beaten but she persists. She fights until they win right to unionize and improve the condition of the factory workers.
The last page is uplifting and pulls on the heartstrings. Brave Girl Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 is a beautiful book about hard work, dedication and civil rights. The illustrations are mixed media highlighted with little scrapes of cloth or ribbons.

Located in Children’s Nonfiction (J 331.89 MAR)

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