The Breaker Boys

The Breaker Boys

by Pat Hughes


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The Breaker Boys by Pat Hughes

Nate Tanner is a rich boy whose family owns coal mines near Hazleton, Pennsylvania. He has everything a kid could want or need - except a friend. Then he meets Johnny, an easygoing Polish American boy who works sorting coal in a filthy, dark building called a breaker. Unaware that Nate is the boss's son, Johnny invites him to play baseball with the breaker boys. As the summer of 1897 progresses, Nate finds himself piling lie on top of lie to keep his identity secret from Johnny, and the friendship secret from his family. In the patch town where the mining families live, Nate confronts disturbing realities; back at home, he learns of his family's fears about the future. Meanwhile, the miners are joining a labor union to challenge the owners - and the owners are trying to stop a strike. As Nate's moment of truth draws near, so does a violent confrontation that will alter coal country lives forever.
Originally published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, now in paperback for the first time, "The Breaker Boys" explores both sides of a timeless issue through a nuanced portrayal of both immigrant laborers and the coal-mine owners who employed them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780615881676
Publisher: Backshore Books
Publication date: 01/28/2014
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.42(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Pat Raccio Hughes is an author of children's and young adult books. Her mom claims Pat taught herself to read at age 4 by perusing the obituaries in the local newspaper. Soon after that, she started writing stories and poems. Her most recent work is "Five 4ths of July" (Viking) a historical novel about a Connecticut boy's tumultuous life during the American Revolution. ALA/YALSA named it as one of 2014's Popular Paperbacks for teens. It was also in Booklist's Top Ten Historical Novels for Youth in 2012. Other books include "The Breaker Boys" (Backshore), set in 1897 Pennsylvania coal country; "Guerrilla Season" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a novel of guerrilla warfare in Civil War Missouri; "Seeing the Elephant" (FSG), a picture book set during the Civil War; and "Open Ice" (Random House), a contemporary novel about a high school hockey star forced to quit playing after his third concussion. "Open Ice" was an ALA/YALSA Popular Paperback in 2008. "The Breaker Boys" and "Seeing the Elephant" were National Council on Social Studies/Children's Book Council Notable Books. "Guerrilla Season" and "Seeing the Elephant" were Bank Street Best Books. "Guerrilla Season" was also a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Pat was born and raised in Hamden, Connecticut, and now lives just outside Philadelphia. She is married with two sons.

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Breaker Boys 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book as a Read Aloud to a group of 6th grade students while studying the state of Pennsylvania. It was a great book to use as the time of the conflicts between the union miners and the mine owners became alive in the classroom. Students listened intently to every word read and would complain when read aloud was over for the day. They became involved in both the lives of the workers and the owners. When conflict arose between the two, we were all on the edge of our seats. I highly recommend this book for a read aloud to an upper intermediate group of students. Especially if you are studying anything to do with mining and the dynamics of a mining town, this book is for you and your class!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Breaker Boys by Pat Hughes is a great book. It really captures the mood of the industrial revolution and all of the hardships that occurred during its time. I could tell this was going to be a great book from the start, when Nate Tanner reveals that he does not get along with his father. Nate faces a problem when he must choose between his friends and his family while he searches for truth. Jonny and his fellow breaker boys allow Nate to see the painful reality of what Nate's family puts them through. But Nate¿s family shows him how scared they are about losing everything. There are many twists and turns in this novel, but that is what makes is all the more exciting!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Breaker Boys was a great book. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it for anyone who loves historical fiction. It definitely displays how times were in the factories. It keeps your attention from beginning to end. It also had a little comedy in it as well. Great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great, because it has revealed the conditions of the factories in the time it was based. This book is also great because it is a book that captures the reader's attention from the first page, and it keeps on making the reader want to read more until the book is finished. I also recommend this book because this book is a book that is laid out in a easy manner, which makes it easy to understand. I would recommendthis book to anyone who loves to learn about history, loves to read books about people's lives, and anyone in middle school and higher.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found The Breaker Boys to be an outstanding novel. I really liked how brave and outgoing Nate was. My favorite part of the story was when Nate¿s father took him to the mine and all of his friends saw him. It was very suspenseful as the reader does not know what Johnny and the others will say and if they will still want to be friends with Nate. Not only did I enjoy this part, but I also really liked the ending. He had grown to like his teacher over the summer and I think that he will please his father by how well he does at boarding school with him. Therefore, I believe that The Breaker Boys is a very well-written book and I recommend it to any young reader looking for a suspenseful and adventurous book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book that shows what it was like growing up with child labor during the turn of the century. A great non-fiction to pair with this novel is Growing Up in Coal Country. It seems to match the fiction chapter for chapter.