cover image Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights

Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights

Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Kristy Caldwell. Peachtree, $18.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-68263-136-2

Opening with an interactive framing device, this informative biography of the first female presidential cabinet member encourages young readers to appreciate the groundwork laid for modern American workers’ rights. Recounting Perkins’s upbringing and the ideals, about helping others, that she internalized, the narrative focuses on the figure’s radicalization after witnessing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and hearing a subsequent rousing speech by labor activist Rose Schneiderman. Organizing, then laboring to get bills passed, Perkins eventually becomes Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of Labor and works to establish Social Security. Digital illustrations in a subdued palette evoke classic watercolor and pencil drawings, and illustrated circles effectively illuminate specific moments. While challenging vocabulary may give young readers pause—”social responsibility” and “unemployment insurance” are among the terms that go undefined—guardians seeking a woman activist’s framework, with actionable steps that resonate today, will find this picture book attractive. Back matter includes further information on Social Security, as well as an author’s note and additional resources. Ages 6–10. (Aug.)