Skip to main content
Link to Libraries homepage
Link to Libraries homepage
Rutgers University Libraries

UALE Summer School for Union Women: Children's Literature About Labor

Resources for the workshops offered by the regional summer institutes for union women sponsored by United Association for Labor Education.

Children's Books

Atkin, S. Beth.  Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories.  N.Y.: Little, Brown, 2000 (repr. 1993 ed.).

Photographs of children & teenagers of migrant workers, plus their words and their poetry.

 

Anderson, Marilyn and Jonathan Garlock.  Our Community of Workers Coloring Book. Rochester: Rochester Labor Council, 1996.  [Available from Labor Heritage Foundation]

 

Colman, Penny. Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II. N.Y.: Crown, 1995. 

Great photographs.

 

Currie, Stephen.  We Have Marched Together: The Working Children’s Crusade.  Lerner, 1997.

The story of the army of child workers led by Mother Jones from Philadelphia to New York in the early 20th century.  For middle school children.

 

Cohn, Diana (writer), Francisco Delgado (illus.) & Sharon Franco (trans.)  Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can ! : Janitor Strike in L.A.  El Paso: Cinco Puntos Press, 2002.  [Available from Labor Heritage Foundation]

This illustrated, bilingual book tells the story of Carlito, whose mother is a janitor in downtown L.A.. Based on the Justice for Janitors strike of April 2000, for children in grades 4–6.

 

Cronin, Doreen and Betsy Lewin.  Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.  NY: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Farmer Brown’s cows become literate and then strike for better working conditions; a funny tale that actually appeals to adults more than children.  Also available as a DVD from Scholastic.

 

Ella Jenkins and a Union of Friends Pulling Together (CD/audiotape). Smithsonian Folkways, 1999. 

[Available from Labor Heritage Foundation]

“Designed to open a wider concept of being part of a union” to young children through a variety of songs, rhymes, and stories, this recording is gentle and welcoming in the Ella Jenkins tradition. 

 

Gourley, Catherine. Good Girl Work : Factories, Sweatshops, And How Women Changed Their Role In The American Workforce. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press, 1999.

A history of the work girls have done over the years in the U.S.; for young adults.

 

Hoose, Philip.  We Were There Too! Young People in U.S. History.  N.Y.: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001.

Brief biographies of young people who were active participants in historical events and social movements.  Include our own Jessica Govea, who as a teenager was a founding member of the United Farm Workers.

 

Kraft, Betsey Harvey.  Mother Jones: One Woman’s Fight for Labor.  N.Y.: Clarion Books, 1995. 

YA (young adult) biography of the radical labor organizer who believed one should “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living”.

 

 

Lyon, George Ella & Cardinale, Christopher.  Which Side Are You On?: The Story Of A Song.  Cinco Puntos Press, 2011.

The story of this classic labor song, written in 1931 by Florence Reece, of a coal miner’s family, told through the eyes of Florence’s daughter.

 

McCully, Emily Arnold.  The Bobbin Girl. N.Y.: Dial, 1996.

Recounts the everyday life of ten-year old Rebecca Putney who lives in a boarding house and works in a cotton mill.  Is Rebecca brave enough to join a protest against a pay cut?  Beautifully illustrated.

 

Paterson, Katherine.  Lyddie. N.Y.: Puffin Books, 1991.

A young girl goes to work in the mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, hoping to save  enough money to reunite her family; for young adults.  Paterson is a popular, award-winning young adult author.

 

Wright, Sarah.  A. Philip Randolph: Integration in the Workplace.  Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Silver Burdett Press, 1990.

The biography of an influential labor and civil rights leader who worked tirelessly in the struggle for basic rights in the workplace and in society for African Americans.

 

 

Labor Music for Children

Ella Jenkins and a Union of Friends Pulling Together (CD/audiotape). Smithsonian Folkways, 1999. 

[Available from Labor Heritage Foundation]

“Designed to open a wider concept of being part of a union” to young children through a variety of songs, rhymes, and stories, this recording is gentle and welcoming in the Ella Jenkins tradition. 

 

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers web sites to: accessibility@rutgers.edu or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback Form.