Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909
Publication Date: January 2013
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When Clara Lemlich 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 did not stop Clara.
She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a factory.
Clara never quit. And she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little.
So Clara fought back. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers in the country's history.
Clara had learned a lot from her short time in America. She 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.
Michelle Markel is a former freelance journalist who wrote stories and opinion pieces for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. After her two daughters were born, she started writing for young people. She has written a variety of picture books, including, most recently, Tyrannosaurus Math and The Shark That Taught Me English. Michelle is also a founding member of the Children's Authors Network. She and her husband, an anthropologist, live in West Hills, California, with their two sweet cats.
“The zingy images masterfully (and appropriately) incorporate fabric and stitches as well as old images of checks and time cards … This book has fighting spirit in spades-you go, Clara!”
-Booklist (starred review)
“In her simple but powerful text Markel shows how multiple arrests, serious physical attacks, and endless misogyny failed to deter this remarkable woman as she set off on her lifelong path as a union activist.”
-The Horn Book