Labor Day

Mother Jones: One Woman's Fight for Labor

By Betsy Harvey Kraft

Go to catalog
She looked like everybody's grandma, and she became the force behind the changes in American labor laws by standing up to rich businessmen and government officials.
Reserve this title

Oranges

By Jack Rogow

Go to catalog
To you, it's just an orange, juicy and sweet, but it's made a long journey and gone through many hands before coming to your table. Meet all the kinds of people who work to get that fruit to you. Beautiful pictures make this one good for story time, whether the theme is food, plants, or different cultures.
Reserve this title

Striking Back: The Fight to End Child Labor Exploitation

By J. Dennis Robinson

Go to catalog
In 1790 the first water-powered mill in America was run by children, some as young as seven years old. They were paid pennies for a work day that might last more than ten hours. As America grew, the children's plight grew worse. Exhausted by six-day work weeks and harsh conditions, millions of young workers had no time to play or go outdoors. They had no childhood. In time children and adults fought back, and the children went on strike to protest harsh conditions. Finally, during the last years of the Great Depression, the government took action, passing the Fair Labor Act.
Reserve this title

The Bobbin Girl

By Emily Arnold McCully

Go to catalog

Ten-year-old Rebecca likes to help her family by earning some money, but a Massachusetts cotton mill is not the same as working at a jewelry counter in a shopping mall. In the 1830s, long before there were laws to protect workers and keep kids from being exploited, a mill was a dusty, dirty place where the very air could make you sick. When talk comes of paying the girls and women less money, Rebecca has to decide whether to stand with the others or keep doing her job to bring in money for her family.

Reserve this title

The Journal of C. J. Jackson, a Dust Bowl Migrant

By William Durbin

Go to catalog

Thirteen-year-old C.J. records in a journal the conditions of the Dust Bowl that cause the Jackson family to leave their farm in Oklahoma and make the difficult journey to California, where they find a harsh life as migrant workers. Part of the My Name is America series.

Reserve this title

Turn Homeward, Hannalee

By Patricia Beatty

Go to catalog

Twelve-year-old Hannalee Reed is marched away from her home by the Yankees to work in a mill in Indiana during the Civil War. Her father is dead, and her mother is expecting another baby. When she and her brother are separated, she wonders if she'll ever be able to keep her promise to go back to Georgia.

Reserve this title

Up Molasses Mountain

By Julie Baker

Go to catalog

When union members arrive to organize their West Virginia coal mining town, fourteen-year-old Clarence Henderson, shunned for his cleft lip, and his neighbor Elizabeth Braxton tell about the changes in their own lives and in the lives of everyone in their community.

Reserve this title

We Have Marched Together: The Working Children's Crusade

By Stephen Currie

Go to catalog

The fight to regulate child labor went on for many years, but this book tells the particular story of children who worked in the textile mills and marched with Mother Jones from Philadelphia to New York City in 1903.

Reserve this title

We Shall Not Be Moved: The Women's Factory Strike of 1909

By Joan Dash

Go to catalog

Thousands of young girls came all alone to New York City looking for work, and they found it in the factories, making lovely dresses for a cheap wage. Finally, Clara Lemlich had had enough. She stood up at her work table and announced in Yiddish, which most of the girls understood, that she had a plan to make things better. This book tells the beginnings of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, one of the first unions to recognize that women, as well as men, deserved decent pay and better hours.

Reserve this title

Working Children

By Carol Saller

Go to catalog

Learn what it was like to be one of the more than two million kids in 1900 who worked instead of going to school and what was done to make their lives better.

Reserve this title