Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909
- By Michelle Markel
- Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Ages: 4-8
- Grades: preschool-3
This picture-book biography about Ukrainian immigrant Clara Lemlich tackles the topics of activism and the U.S. garment industry for young readers. Lemlich came to the United States with her parents to escape the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, only to be thrust into another appalling nightmare: the American shirtwaist factories. Studying English at night school and helping to support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory by day, Lemlich learned the harsh reality about the mistreatment and low wages of young women. Never accepting the work conditions, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen.
Author Michelle Markel's tells Lemlich’s story in a clear way, making it accessible to a young audience. Readers are presented with solid information and a strong message about standing up for what is right. Melissa Sweet’s illustrations are wonderful backdrop for Markel's text with a vibrant collage of watercolor, gouache, blank dress-pattern paper, bookkeeping pages, stitches, and fabric pieces. Included are a bibliography and an author's note on the garment industry.