ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Labor Day Books for Children and Young Adults

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Books for Children and Young Adults

Admittedly, our family thinks of Labor Day as the end of summer fun - time to pack our backpacks and define the school year routines.   However, the real purpose of Labor Day is to celebrate the contributions made by workers for the well-being of our country.  Here are a few titles we discovered to help us focus on work, workers, child labor, collective bargaining, and unions. 
Katherine Paterson, a Newbery award winner, wrote a YA book about  the 1912 mill worker's strike called, Bread and Roses Too.

In another YA book by Katherine Paterson, Lyddie, a young girl and her brother are hired out to help pay off family debts
Counting on Grace, by Elizabeth Winthrop, is a story of another young girl forced to leave school in 1910 to work a loom in the mill.  She and a friend decide to write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage workers.  
The Bobbin Girl, by Emily McCully is a picture book about a poor young girl working in a cotton mill.
Listen To Us, by Jane Springer is a book for kids, about working children around the globe. 
You Wouldn't Want to Be a Victorian Mill Worker, by John Malam, is one book in a series of children's titles about "grueling jobs we would rather not have."
The Cooperative Children's Book Center has put together a great list of 50 Children's Books about Labor.  Including sub-sections on Child Labor, Activism, Farm Work, Collaborative Work, and Working Teens.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, by Doreen Cronin, is appropriate for introducing young students to the idea of collective bargaining.
The Caldecott Winner, Swimmy, by Leo Leonni is about one little fish who organizes a team to confront the big fish.
Si' Se Peudo: Yes We Can! by  Diana Cohn is a children's book recounting the events of the L.A. Janitor's Strike. 
The Public Library of Cincinnati compiled a list job and career books for children.
The Rookie Reader's Holiday series has an informational text available, Labor Day.
In, Berenstein Bears On The Job, brother and sister bear meet all kinds of people as they try to decide what to be when they grow up.
Whose Hat Is This: a Look at Hats Workers Wear - Hard, Tall, and Shine and Whose Tools Are These? A Look at Tools Workers Use - Big, Sharp, and Smooth by Katz Cooper, are fun for introducing preschool age children to community workers.


  1. What a lovely collection of books. Love the Whose is it books. Happy Labor Day to you.

  2. A great collection of books. I'm going to see if I can get a couple of those. I love Click Clack Moo.

    Labour day, and any talk about unions, makes me think of this song: