Labor Day

Jill Paton Walsh

A boy climbs aboard a rickety boat and travels back in time one hundred years to the Industrial Revolution where he suffers at the hand of his bosses. Meanwhile, his half-brother, frantically looking for him in the 20th century, comes across his brother's name in the history books where he had testified to the brutal conditions under which he has been forced to live.

Patricia McKissack and Fredrick McKissack

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, the trains took everybody everywhere in Pullman sleeping cars. The people who looked after the passengers were called porters. They were mostly black, and they formed their own union to fight against unfair working conditions. This book tells, in their own words and photos, the story of how they won their fight for justice.

Catherine Reef

Randolph, one of the brains of the Harlem Renaissance, was determined that African-American workers should share the rights that the labor unions had fought so hard for, despite their history of excluding his people. This was a hard fight, but, in the end, the labor unions became strong and integrated.

Boy Scouts of America

Learn the history of American workers' fight for better pay and working conditions. Part of the Boy Scouts of America's Merit Badge series. Click here to reserve this title.

Jerry Stanler

The copper mines in Michigan were dangerous, and the men who worked there toiled for long hours and made very little money. Annie Clemenc, a miner's wife, marched against these conditions even when the mining company resorted to violence.

Marilyn Sachs

All Ruth wants to do is fit in with her new American friends, but her Russian mother is such an embarrassment! She keeps talking about joining a labor union, something that no one from a good family would do.

Bruce W. Conord
Cesar Chavez fought for the rights of migrant workers who worked picking lettuce and grapes in 1960s and 1970s California.
Jerry Stanley

Thousands of families looking for work and a better life came to settle in 1930s California, but the town people wanted nothing to do with them and refused to let their children attend the same school as the "Okies" from Oklahoma. The Arvin Federal Emergency School was created to give these unwanted kids a chance to learn.

Pam Munoz Ryan

Beautiful Esperanza has grown up in luxury at her father's ranch, but when her father dies as the Great Depression strikes Mexico, she and her sick mother must leave their home to go to work in the labor camps of Southern California.

Barbara Diamond Goldin

In 1911, Rosie becomes involved in the struggle for better working conditions in factories when fire rips through the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, where her older sister Freyda is employed.

Eve Bunting

A Mexican father and mother love their children and want them to have all the opportunities they can so they travel a long way to work in the fields of California. But when it's Christmas, it's time to go home to Mexico and gather all the family together again for a special celebration.

Susan Campbell Bartoletti
There were lots of jobs for young boys to do in the dark and dirty coal mines of Pennsylvania, from "breaker boys" to "nippers" and "spraggers." These early photos let you look into the eyes of kids who saw too much too early as they struggled to help feed their families.
George Ancona
Meet campesinos, migrant farm laborers who've come to America in search of a better life for their children.
Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuri Morales

Beautiful paintings help to tell the story of Cesar Chavez, who grew up to lead a peaceful protest against California migrant workers' hard working conditions.

Carol Barkin

A practical guide to making money and having fun doing it-- for kids!

Russell Freedman
Lewis Hine, an investigative reporter for the National Child Labor Committee, took photographs that provided dramatic visual evidence that the U.S. needed laws against child labor. Kids At Work features Hines' groundbreaking photos, along with text by Newbery Honor Winner Russell Freedman.
Susan Campbell Bartoletti

In the old days, poor children were much more likely to work long hours at hard jobs in scary and dangerous places than go to school and have a chance at a better life. But, sometimes the kids fought back, refusing to work until they got paid more and were treated better. These brave young workers were an important part of the Labor Movement in the United States.

Mari C. Schuh
This short book gives a history of the holiday that honors American workers.
Robin Nelson

A basic overview of Labor Day for emergent readers. Color photographs reflect the short, easy-to-understand sentences that improve vocabulary and comprehension.

Carmen Bredson
This non-fiction Rookie Reader teaches young students about Labor Day.
Betsy Harvey Kraft
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.
Jack Rogow
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.
J. Dennis Robinson
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.
Emily Arnold McCully

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.

William Durbin

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.

Patricia Beatty

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.

Julie Baker

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.

Stephen Currie

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.

Joan Dash

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.

Carol Saller

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.