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City of Grit and Gold Paperback – April 25, 2017
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"Powell brings this historical event to life with admirable attention to detail. A well-rounded collection of characters offer opposing perspectives of the events and life in Chicago at that time. Young readers will grow along with Addie as she learns about the hardships of poverty and the complexity of politics...A timely and potent portrait of an important moment in U.S. history. Recommended for fans of 'Dear America.'" --School Library Journal
"The history of the American Labor Movement isn't often explored in middle-grade literature, and this will be a valuable addition to collections...Exploring many topical issues--immigration, civil disobedience, the right to free speech and assembly, and police brutality--this novel is timely. Kudos to the small Chicago press, Allium, for bringing it out; it certainly deserves a place in most libraries." --Booklist
"City of Grit and Gold is an ideal pick for teachers and librarians who may want to use the work to supplement lessons on American history or have meaningful discussions about rights, immigration, and protesting." --Foreword Reviews
"A worthy introduction to an important piece of history." --Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Maud Macrory Powell comes from a family of writers. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. She studied comparative religion in college and environmental studies in graduate school. She now lives in rural Oregon with her family, where they run an organic farm and she teaches at Oregon State University. Her essay “The Fruits of My Labor” was published in the anthology Greenhorns: The Next Generation of American Farmers. This is her debut novel.
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Like Carl Hiassen’s books for young readers, Addie pulls you into a captivating story that exposes the reader to so much more than a story. I recommend this book to young and not so young readers.
Addie wants to do what’s right, but people she loves disagree on what that is. Her papa believes immigrants like him should work hard without complaining of the conditions, because the old country they left behind was worse. Her Uncle Chaim says workers should have humane working conditions and make enough money to support their families. Addie herself sees a vast gap between children like her who can go to school and those who put their lives at risk working in factories to help feed their families.
City of Grit and Gold by Maud Macrory Powell portrays the time of unrest that occurred in Chicago and other parts of the U.S. as workers fought for the right to limit their work day to eight hours, get paid a fair wage, have safety measures implemented in factories, and restrict child labor. Wide disparities between the sectors of society meant that many were struggling to get by.
When Addie sees her older siblings and her beloved uncle questioning the established order of things she doesn’t know what to think. On one hand she has been taught to obey her parents without question. On the other, her budding sense of fairness has her wondering if the protesters are right.
Readers get a glimpse into all the important issues of the day through Addie’s eyes as she goes about her days at school, in the street, in her home, at the park, and helping out with the injured and the sick. City of Grit and Gold is a small book, but it carries an impactful message about an important time in American history. I highly recommend it for readers aged 9 to 12 and their parents.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This tale was wonderfully descriptive, and it effortlessly portrays the hardships of an immigrant family in Chicago during the 1800s. Focusing mainly on Addie, the youngest in her family, the story walks the reader through the events of the striking workers and how it tore apart families. While not overly fast paced, the events of the story still keep one’s attention. The description of a family and their unique love for one another is beautiful. Despite being in an entirely different time period, the struggles and hardships of Addie’s family still apply today. In the end, the unending love of a family is truly evident despite all of the ugly things going on around them. City of Grit and Gold invites the reader to explore the events of the Haymarket Affair and the journey of a young girl trying to find her place in her family.
Reviewed by a LitPick student book reviewer Age: 13