cover image Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

Michelle Markel, illus. by Melissa Sweet. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (

When immigrant Clara Lemlich arrived in New York City, she was “dirt poor, just five feet tall, and hardly [spoke] a word of English,” but she wasn’t short on tenacity and determination. After becoming employed as a garment worker and witnessing firsthand the deplorable factory conditions, she began to organize her fellow workers. Markel doesn’t sugarcoat the obstacles and injuries Lemlich faced as she went on to lead the “largest walkout of women workers in U.S. history.” Sweet incorporates images of assorted fabrics and stitch patterns into her tender illustrations, brightening the lives of workers whose reality was bleak. Author’s agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)