cover image Kids on Strike!

Kids on Strike!

Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $20 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-395-88892-6

Covering more historical ground than in her lauded photo-essay Growing Up in Coal Country, Bartoletti highlights the roles that children and young adults played in American labor strikes during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Bartoletti has a gift for collecting stories with telling details; her dense but highly readable prose brings individual children and the struggles in which they engaged vividly to life. Drawing from a broad expanse of resources (personal interviews, newspaper and magazine articles, primary and secondary book accounts), she spins the stories of 11-year-old Harriet Hanson, who joined striking workers in the Lowell, Mass., mills of the 1830s; 16-year-old Pauline Newman, a leader of the 1907 New York City rent protests and nicknamed ""The New Joan of Arc""; as well as myriad other children who began to realize the unfairness of the conditions in which they worked and who took steps to change their situations. The handsomely designed volume is packed with an abundance of relevant historical photographs (several by Lewis Hine), with children at work or at protests staring out from almost every page. A final chapter recounts the creation of the National Child Labor Committee and offers a glimpse into the futures of the many children featured in earlier chapters. Both accessible and engrossing, this volume is tangible proof for would-be activists that children have made and continue to make a difference. Ages 9-up. (Nov.)