By Margaret Peterson Haddix
(Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Hardcover, 9781416911715, 346pp.)
Publication Date: September 2007
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Around her the workers were screaming out prayers and curses.... She herself was sobbing tearlessly.... Her only prayer was still, "I don't want to die."
Oh, please, God, don't let me die, she thought. I've never even had a chance to live.
Bella, newly arrived in New York from Italy, gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. There, along with hundreds of other immigrants, she works long hours at a grueling job under terrible conditions. Yetta, a coworker from Russia, has been crusading for a union, and when factory conditions worsen, she helps workers rise up in a strike. Wealthy Jane learns of the plight of the workers and becomes involved with their cause.
Bella and Yetta are at work -- and Jane is visiting the factory -- on March 25, 1911, when a spark ignites some cloth and the building is engulfed in fire, leading to one of the worst workplace disasters ever.
Margaret Peterson Haddix draws on extensive historical research to bring the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire to tangible life through her thrilling story of Bella, Yetta, and Jane.