Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights

Peachtree. Aug. 2020. 36p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781682631362.
Gr 1-4–American workers have much to be thankful for due to the advocacy of Frances Perkins in the early 1900s. Born in Boston in 1880, Perkins graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1902. In 1910, she earned her master’s degree from Columbia University. Her contributions to early labor movements began with the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911; soon after witnessing the tragedy that claimed the lives of 146 people, Perkins joined the fight for workers’ rights and became a member of a safety committee to ensure better conditions for workers. In 1933, Perkins became the first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet when President Franklin D. Roosevelt named her Secretary of Labor. She held the position for 12 years. Hopkinson details Perkins’s journey from an activist to an authority on labor rights in the state of New York, culminating in the establishment of Social Security as a part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Caldwell’s circular illustrations use a muted palette, and her simple drawings depict an appropriate representation of the time period. An author’s note, sources, a bibliography, websites, and critical thinking questions are included.
VERDICT An informative picture book profiling an influential woman in the labor rights movement. Recommended for most biography collections. Pair with Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel.

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