Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 Hardcover – January 22, 2013
|New from||Used from|
From timeless classics to new favorites, find children's books for every age and stage. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This picture-book biography of Clara Lemlich, a spitfire who fought hard for better working conditions, is an engaging, informative introduction to her activism as well as to the deplorable state of the U.S. garment industry in the early 1900s. Ukrainian-born Lemlich came to the United States with her parents to escape the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, only to be thrust into another appalling nightmare: the American shirtwaist factories. She began on a small scale to encourage her coworkers to strike, but at a union meeting, when even men wouldn't call for a walkout, she rose and shouted to the large gathering that the time for a strike was now, inspiring tens of thousands of women to leave their stations in the factories. Markel's style is clean and clear, making Lemlich's story accessible to a young audience. 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. This spirited account concludes with additional material on the garment industry and a solid bibliography. A first purchase.-Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, ARα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* In the winter of 1909, a brave girl named Clara Lemlich, only five feet tall, picketed for workers’ rights. She arrived in America along with hundreds of other immigrants from eastern Europe, hardly speaking any English. But instead of her father being hired, it’s Clara the factories want, and off she goes to make women’s clothing in a garment factory from dawn till dusk. The conditions are appalling: “If you prick your finger and bleed on the cloth, you’re fined. If it happens a second time, you’re fired,” and more. While the men at the factory don’t think girls are strong enough to strike, Clara proves them wrong, eventually leading the “largest walkout of women workers in U.S. history.” Markel’s informative text buzzes with details of the oppressive conditions and neatly plays up Clara’s can-do spirit, but she perhaps tries to cover too much territory, and as a result, omits some crucial explanations (e.g., why can’t Clara’s father get hired?). However, Robert F. Sibert Medalist Sweet (Balloons over Broadway, 2011) creates punchy, vibrant collages that make up for any shortcomings. The zingy images masterfully (and appropriately) incorporate fabric and stitches as well as old images of checks and time cards. One particularly moving picture is seen from above as row upon row of workers toil away. A detailed note about the garment industry and a selected bibliography conclude. This book has fighting spirit in spades—you go, Clara! Grades K-3. --Ann Kelley
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
I had little to fear as author Michelle Markel brings this event to life with simple yet evocative text, and her collaboration with Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Melissa Sweet results in a beautifully-illustrated and well-worded picture book that made for an engaging read.
Both my daughter and I loved the way the author introduces readers to Clara:
"The surprise is dirt poor; just five feet tall, and hardly speaks a word of English.
Her name is Clara Lemlich.
This girl's got grit, and she's going to prove it.
Look out, New York!"
Diminutive Clara Lemlich may have been, but this girl certainly had courage and resilience. Forced to abandon schooling to help her immigrant family make ends meet, Clara worked at the garment factory with hundreds of other impoverished young girls, locked into an unsanitary work environment and toiling away for low wages. Yet Clara did not let her circumstances wear her down, instead this fiercely-determined young woman continued her education by checking books out of the local library and taking night classes.
Clara was also concerned about her fellow garment workers' rights, and advocated for better working conditions, finally leading them and other women factory workers in the largest walkout of its kind in the history of the United States.
The story is compelling and held my daughter's attention. We were both also equally enthralled by the beautiful artwork within the book, depicting stitching and cloth which tied in well with the theme of the story. This is a great picture book biography which lends itself well to discussions in Social Studies and History classrooms, and also for homeschooling parents.
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.
We first meet Clara as she is arriving in the United States, part of the mass of immigrants. But Clara is different--she's "got grit, and she's going to prove it. Look out, New York!"
Social justice is an overriding theme of this book, and we see through Clara's eyes the injustices of life in early 20th century America for the impoverished immigrants. "This was not the America she'd imagined." Girls are hired to make blouses for a few dollars a month, wages desperately needed to help support their families. Markel vividly describes the factories in just a few words--only two toilets, one sink, and three towels for 300 girls to share, and better not be a few minutes late or bleed on a piece of cloth if you've pricked your finger or you'll lose half a day's pay or even be fired.
But little Clara Lemlich is not one to sit back and take it. She organizes strikes, and despite being arrested repeatedly, and beaten, she is not easily silenced. But she realizes that a general strike of all the garment workers is what's needed to make the bosses stand up and take notice, and at a union meeting, she calls for women to launch the largest walk-out ever.
Clara is the leader of the Revolt of the Girls, as the newspapers call it. And eventually the owners meet some of their demands, including a shortened work week and better wages. Markel ends her elegie to Lemlich on a hopeful note, emphasizing how Clara's actions helped thousands of workers. "proving that in America, wrongs can be righted, warriors can wear skirts and blouses, and the bravest hearts may beat in girls only five feet tall."
An afterword provides further details about the history of the garment industry, and the role of Jewish immigrants in the business. Strangely enough, Clara is never identified as Jewish in the main text of the book, although she is shown shouting in Yiddish for a general strike. Back matter also includes a selected bibliography of general and primary sources. I would have also liked to have seen something on Clara Lemlich's later life. For example, she continued advocating for the oppressed her entire life, even helping to organize nursing home orderlies in the retirement home where she spent the end of her life.
Melissa Sweet's remarkable illustrations integrate the garment industry in a very literal fashion into her depiction of Clara's life. She uses watercolor, gouache, and mixed media, and pieces of fabric and sewing machine stitching are front and center in nearly every illustration. Some of the illustrations are particularly moving, including the one in which rows and rows of factory workers are shown from directly above, with the hundreds of girls appearing faceless and indistinct from each other like cogs in a wheel. I also loved the "girl power" illustration of Clara calling for a general strike--Sweet depicts Clara from behind, with hundreds of people in the audience raising their fists in solidarity and with her call for a strike in an oversized text balloon, with the word "Strayk!" (or strike!) in bright red lettering!
This is a must-have for anyone interested in exposing their children to important issues and people in the social justice movement, as well as outstanding women in history, those who chose to try to make a difference in an era when women were encouraged to make their dominion at home.