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.
Was it because she was born in the dream factory of Los Angeles, site of giant donuts and fairy tale cottages? Was it because of the outrageous stories her father told at bedtime? Maybe it was the books themselves, the fauve colors of Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline and later the droll prose of William Steig, that inspired Michelle to write for children. She has imagined, and published, picture books of all stripes, from alphabet to fiction to biography.
Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children's books from board books to picture books and nonfiction titles. Her collages and paintings have appeared in the New York Times and Martha Stewart Living, on Madison Park Greetings and Smilebox cards, and on a line of eeBoo toys. She received a Caldecott Honor Medal for a River of Words by Jen Bryant and two New York Times Best Illustrated citations.
Lesa Lockford is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University. She teaches courses in voice for the actor, dialects, acting, and performance studies. She is also a writer and performer. Before becoming a teacher, she was a professional actor in Great Britain where she appeared in a variety of roles in television, film, and on the stage. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Micelle Markel, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Balzer + Bray, 2013
Historical Fiction Picture Book
Recommended for grades 3-5
I love sharing picture books with my third and fourth grade students. This was enjoyed by all students, many having lots to say about this story, the history, immigrant experiences, etc. Without one small young woman taking a stand, who knows how long others would have had to suffer until job laws changed.
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