Brave girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909

by Michelle Markel

Other authorsMelissa Sweet
Paper Book, 2013


An illustrated account of immigrant Clara Lemlich's pivotal role in the influential 1909 women laborer's strike describes how she worked grueling hours to acquire an education and support her family before organizing a massive walkout to protest the unfair working conditions in New York's garment district.



Call number



New York : Balzer Bray, c2013.


User reviews

LibraryThing member Sullywriter
A superb picture book biography about an inspiring activist, wonderfully written and illustrated.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Melissa Sweet's mixed-media illustrations pair perfectly with this nonfiction text about women workers and the garment industry strike of 1909. This is a great book for women's history. DON'T MISS IT!
LibraryThing member matthewbloome
This is an outstanding book about women's rights. Considering how many of them focus mainly on sufferage rights, this is a nice alternative focusing on workers' rights instead. Very nice.
LibraryThing member rnelson12
Clara works hard. She understands the need for working to make a change. She takes a stand to make a difference in the working conditions.
LibraryThing member HannahRevard
I enjoyed reading this book and learning about Clara Lemlich. She was a young immigrant girl who went to work in garment factories, instead of going to school, after coming to America. There, she witnessed how terribly workers were being treated and decided to take a stand. She inspired others to
Show More
take a stand, as well. A great sentence that I think really sums up the whole book is, "Proving that in America, wrongs can be righted, warriors can wear skirts and blouses, and the bravest hearts, may beat in girls, only five feet tall."
Some illustrations include (what look like actual) Tables of Wages from the early 20th century, which I think could be incorporated into a math lesson. Also, because of all the historical information and insight the book gives, it would also be suitable to read during a social studies lesson on workers' rights, etc.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mariekagreene
This is a touching and well written book. It reads much like fiction, with an incredible story. The illustrations, done by award-winning Melissa Sweet, are wonderfully appropriate and tell the tale of a bygone time - I especially loved the stitched-collage embellishments.
LibraryThing member Imandayeh
Brave girl is about worker's rights. Clara refuses to be told she can't do something because she is a women. She continues to go on strike despite the beating and ridicule. I enjoyed the pictures by Melissa Sweet as I have in other books. The story is unique because I haven't read books on worker's
Show More
rights. I would recommend for grades 2-3.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SaraColvin
This was a biography that I think everyone will enjoy just like I did. Since it is a biography, it was very eye opening to realize this is a true story. The story took place in 1909 and the main character, Clara, and fellow workers joined forces with members of the Women's Trade Union League and
Show More
went on strike. The story shows what immigrants had to endure and work through. The story was very descriptive and put visuals in your head. For example, ““If you prick your finger and bleed on the cloth, you’re fined. If it happens a second time, you’re fired.” It really shows the conditions they had to endure and the experiences they went through. The character also was not going to settle with giving up her education just because she was a immigrant and a women. Instead, she went to night school along with working long hours to support her family. The big idea of this story is perseverance and stepping up to the plate to do what you have to do for family. It also shows how you should stand up for your rights and what you believe in.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Desirichter
Clara, a young immigrant activist demonstrates grit and passion beyond her years, as she mobilizes the largest walkout of women workers in US history. She is not only brave, but tough. T'would have been nice if the ending were a bit less open ended, but I suppose this gives kids opportunities to
Show More

I would like to think I can use this book to embolden and empower students toward using their voices to improve conditions in their world.
Show Less
LibraryThing member rpazmino-calligan
This book would be great for teaching about civil rights and equality and immigration. It tells the story of Clara Lemlich who works in a factory with deplorable conditions and how she empoweres others to create unions and demand proper conditions. Very cute illustrations.
LibraryThing member lrubin75
A view of immigrant child labor working conditions in the New York garment industry in early 1900s, humanized through a personal story of Clara Lemlich, a 12-year old who led the walk out of thousands of women workers becoming the largest strike against the factory owners, after other older workers
Show More
were too afraid to speak up.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ryckecraw
Brave Girl tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young Jewish immigrant who goes to work as a seamstress in the garment district of NY soon after she came to US. She quickly realizes the terrible working conditions and begins to speak to the other young seamstresses about striking. She is a tough
Show More
spirited, won't back down kind of girl who organizes the largest walkout of women workers in US history.
Show Less
LibraryThing member PolyDrive
I enjoy learning about strong women in history and Clara is no exception. This simple picture book tells of an issue we do not hear much about worker's rights as it pertains to women and children in America. It is a great story of perseverance, bravery and victory over extreme adversity. This would
Show More
be a great read aloud for any grade level when introducing women's rights, this time in history, or even heritage. This would be a great book to include in your read aloud collection of famous women.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mhilary
This book brought tears to my eyes. It is a wonderful story about the courage of a young girl to stand up for herself and others to improve working conditions in the early 1900's.
LibraryThing member jwesley
I absolutely love Brave Girl by Michelle Markel. Brave Girl is a picture biography about Clara Lemlich and the factory strike of 1909. She arrived to New York City and began to sew garments in a factory. The factory conditions and rules were problematic that Clara decided to strike until conditions
Show More
were improved. This book does well to show perseverance, encouragement, and achievement by bringing to light issues with the factories during that time. Additionally, the book emphasizes that everyone should have courage to stand up for what they believe.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jegammon
Response - This book is a great introduction to the shirtwaist strike of 1909 and the role of determined individuals. I think that the author provides just enough detail to inform the reader and to want to learn more about the topic.

Curricular connection - unit on migration, rights and
Show More
responsibilities, equality
Show Less
LibraryThing member kacieholt
Clara was a young woman who immigrated to New York in the early nineteen hundreds. Because her father could not get work, Clara got a job in a Shirtwaist factory, and went to school at night. The Shirtwaist factory was very strict, docking women and girls pay in they were a few minutes late, and
Show More
firing them if they poked themselves and bled on the cloth more than twice. Clara was instrumental in getting the workers in the garment industry to go on a general strike which resulted in the formation of unions, shorter work weeks, and pay raises.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Analley
Clara Lemlich, who was only five feet tall, was going to change the world for women and their wages; She and her family had just arrived to the one of the ports on one of the docks of New York City, and did not speak any English. She knew what was right and wrong, and wanted to make things right
Show More
again in America. No one would hire her father for work, but they would hire Clara to work in a factory making clothes. She worked from sun up and all the way through when the sun was gone. Clara even worked non-stop still and found time to go to school. She wanted to better herself and it didn’t matter what she had to go through to get to where she wanted to be. She was feed up all these long hours and not enough pay, so she started a union with thousands of other women that wanted the same respect for their time and for their wages. She was known for having the largest walkouts for women in United States.
Show Less
LibraryThing member RachelSchillreff
I thoroughly enjoyed this book on early unions. My family is a union family and it was nice to have my kids read about it. I think this could be used at several different levels even at highschool as a reprieve from textbooks.
LibraryThing member ThisIsNotSophie
Young Clara starts a large strike of women workers in 1909. Despite immense hardship both before and during the strike, Clara maintains hope of a better America for herself and for others.
LibraryThing member songshu
Brave Girl tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl who led the largest strike of women workers in our country's history. The book tells of Lemlich's arrival in New York, the grim conditions she and the other factory workers suffered under, her determination, hard work, and eventual
Show More
success. Melissa Sweet's illustrations add character and appeal to this wonderful book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
A wonderful story. Loved the end notes and bibliography particularly since it included articles written by the subject.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
A wonderful story. Loved the end notes and bibliography particularly since it included articles written by the subject.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
A wonderful story. Loved the end notes and bibliography particularly since it included articles written by the subject.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
A wonderful story. Loved the end notes and bibliography particularly since it included articles written by the subject.


Original publication date



0061804428 / 9780061804427
Page: 1.6249 seconds