Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Bread and Roses, Tooby Lorna Raver
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Rosa’s mother is singing again, for the first time since Papa died in an accident in the mills. But instead of filling their cramped tenement apartment with Italian lullabies, Mamma is out on the streets singing union songs. Rosa is terrified that her mother and older sister, Anna, are endangering their lives by marching against the corrupt mill owners. After all, didn’t Miss Finch tell the class that the strikers are nothing but rabble-rousers–an uneducated, violent mob? Suppose Mamma and Anna are jailed or, worse, killed? What will happen to Rosa and little Ricci?
When Rosa is sent to Vermont with other children to live with strangers until the strike is over, she fears she will never see her family again. Then, on the train, a boy begs her to pretend that he’s her brother. Alone and far from home, she agrees to protect him . . . even though she suspects that he is hiding some terrible secret.
From a beloved, award-winning author, here is a moving story based on real events surrounding an infamous 1912 strike.
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
Katherine Paterson returns to Massachusetts mill history with the 1912 Lawrence strike as the backdrop for this novel (Clarion, 2006). Jake, an illiterate boy from the mills, is befriended by Rosa, whose mother and sister are also on strike. Though they are both poor, Rosa's loving family sends her to school, while Jake must fend for himself and his abusive, alcoholic father. The clashes between strikers and the local authorities have Rosa worried about her family's safety, and Jake is looking for food and shelter. When Rosa's mother sends her to Barre, Vermont, one of several places where union sympathizers are caring for children caught in increasing violence, Jake stows away on the train. The resolution of the strike allows Rosa to return home safely, but Jake, haunted by a terrible secret, commits a rash act that could cost him his first real home. Laura Bayer effectively conveys the story's wide range of emotions, and convincingly employs various accents to present the diversity of a turn-of-the-century mill town. While the novel can stand alone as a powerful story about overcoming adversity, pairing it with Lyddie (Dutton, 1991), the author's look at Lowell mill girls, will give listeners valuable insight into this aspect of American history. Paterson has again created characters worth caring about, but Jake's and Rosa's struggles will also spark dialogue on the hardships faced by an earlier generation of immigrants that has relevance today.
Barbara WysockiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"A beautifully written novel that puts a human face on history...Paterson at her best--and that's saying a lot." Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Stirring and dramatic." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"Paterson has skillfully...created vivid settings, clearly drawn characters, and a strong sense of...hardship and injustice." School Library Journal, Starred
"[Paterson] remains a smooth storyteller, and this is an informative exploration of a key moment in U.S. labor history." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
- Random House Audio Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Unabridged, 5 CD's, 6 hrs.
- Product dimensions:
- 5.47(w) x 6.28(h) x 1.02(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 Years
Read an Excerpt
Chapter One Shoe Girl
The tenements loomed toward the sky on either side of the alley like glowering giants, but they’d keep the wind off. There was plenty of trash in the narrow space between them. It stank to high heaven, but, then, so did he. He began to burrow into the heap like a rat. A number of rodents squawked and scrambled away. Hell’s bells! He hoped they wouldn’t bite him while he was asleep. Rat bites hurt like fury.
For a moment he stopped digging, but the freezing air drove him farther in.
He tried to warm himself by cursing his pa. The words inside his head were hot as flaming hades, but they didn’t fool his hands and feet, which ached from the cold.
He’d heard of people freezing to death in their sleep. It happened to drunks all the time. He sometimes even wished it would happen to his pa, although he knew it was wicked to wish your own pa dead. But how could Jake be expected to care whether the brute lived or died? The man did nothing but beat him. Dead, he wouldn’t beat me or steal all my pay for drink—and then beat me for not earning more. He was keeping himself agitated, if not warm, with hateful thoughts of the old man when he heard light footsteps close by. He willed himself motionless.
It was a small person from the sound, and coming right for his pile. You can’t have my pile. This one’s mine. I already claimed it. I chased the rats for it. I made my nest in it. .
. . He began to growl.
“Who’s there?” It was the frightened voice of a child—a girl, if he wasn’t mistaken.
“What do you want?” He stuck his head out of the pile.
The girl jumped back with a little shriek. Stupid little mouse.
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice shaking.
“It’s my pile. Go away.” “I don’t want your pile. Really, I don’t.” She was shaking so hard, her whole body was quivering. “I—I just need to look in it—to find something.” “In here?” “I think so. I’m not sure.” He was interested in spite of himself.
“What did you lose?” “My—my shoes,” she said. “How could you lose your shoes?” “I guess I sort of hid them.” “You what?” “I know,” she said. He could tell she was about to bawl. “It was stupid. I really need new ones. But Mamma said Anna had to stand up all day on the line and she needed shoes worse than me. I thought if I lost mine . . . It was stupid, I know.” She began to cry in earnest. “Okay, okay, which pile?” He stood up, old bottles, cans, and papers cascading from his shoulders. She put her left foot on top of her right, to keep at least one stockinged foot from touching the frozen ground. “You smell awful,” she said.
“Shut up. You want help or not?” “Please,” she said. “I’m sorry.” They dug about in the dark. At length, Jake found the first shoe, and then the girl found the other. She nodded gratefully, slipped them on her feet, and bent over to tie what was left of the laces.
“You didn’t lose them so good.” “No. I guess I knew all along I’d have to find them.” She gave a little sigh. “But thank you.” She was very polite. He figured she went to school even in shoes that were more holes than leather.“ You can’t sleep in a garbage heap,” she said.
“And why not?” “You’ll freeze to death is why.” Somehow with her shoes found, she didn’t seem like a scared mouse after all.
“I done it before. Besides, where else am I gonna go?” “You might—you can sleep in our kitchen.” She blurted the words out, and then put her hand quickly to her mouth.
“Your folks might notice,” he said.
“Besides I stink. You said so.” “We all stink.” She grabbed his arm.
“Come on before I change my mind.” They went in the alley door of one of the buildings and climbed to the third floor. “Shh,” she said before she opened the door. “They’re all asleep.” She led him between the beds in the first room and then into the kitchen. There was no fire in the stove, but the room was warmer than a trash pile.
“You can lie down here,” she said. “We don’t have an extra bed— not even a quilt. I’m sorry.” “I’ll be okay,” he said. He could hardly make out her features in the dark room, but he could tell that she was smaller than he and very thin, with hair that hung to her shoulders.
“I’ll be up before your pa wakes,” he said.
“He’s dead. Nobody will throw you out.” Still, the first stirring in the back room woke him the next morning. A kid was crying out and a woman’s voice was trying to shush it, though Jake reckoned it to be a hunger cry that could not be hushed with words.
He got silently to his feet. There was a box on the table. He opened it too find a half loaf of bread.
He tore off a chunk, telling himself they’d never miss it. Then he stole back through the front room, where someone was snoring like thunder, and out the door and down the stairs and on down the hill to the mill and to work. No danger of freeziiiiing there. He never stopped moving. Why, even on these frigid winter mornings, he was sweating like a pig by ten o’clock.
Later he remembered that he hadn’t even asked the girl her name or told her his.
Copyright © 2006 by Minna Murra, Inc., Reprinted by permission of Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Company.
What People are Saying About This
Kirkus Reviews, Starred
The immigrant labor struggle is stirring and dramatic.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
Meet the Author
Katherine Paterson’s many awards include two Newbery Medals, two National Book Awards and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. Her inspiration for this book came after coming across an old photograph of thirty-five children taken on the steps of the Old Socialist Labor Hall in Barre, Vermont. The caption read: “Children of Lawrence, Massachusetts, Bread and Roses Strike Come to Barre.” She had heard of the strike but wondered what children from that city were doing in her Vermont town, so she determined to find out. Katherine Paterson lives with her husband, John, in Barre, Vermont.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Katherine Patetson doesn't disappoint. She is a master at children's literature and her historical novels are top notch.
I normally read fantasy and took a chance when I read the back of this book. But I decided to read it anyway and it was great. It was full of fellings and meaning and description. You'll love this book if you choose to read it, and you should.
This book was GREAT, and GOOD at the same time, but aa bit confusing, you should DEFINITLY read this, my mom suggested I read it and it's GREAT! First my teacher read it to uf out loud everyday before recess, and EVERYONE just wanted to read more!!! So you should read it or buy it!!! Great book. but sometimes you may want to go back and see what it's 'really about.' Just sometimes it gets off the edge and you have no idea what it's talking about but that's ikay! I love this book and I think you will too!! READ IT OR BUY IT!!!
I enjoyed this book very, very much. Worth reading twice.
I think that it is a great book I love it it is so good one of the best books I have ever read, besides Elsewhere!
'Bread and Roses, Too' was an exelent book! I would definately recamend it. But, I also have a facination with the Worker's Union during this time! This story was easy to follow and very captivating, I didn't want to put it down [at most points]. The only thing that I would have wanted is that there would have been more about the strike at the end. But that's just minor. So stop reading this and start reading 'Bread and Roses, Too'!
It is simply not a good book. It is not good.