Bread and Roses, Too is a beautifully written novel set in 1912. It tells the story of a young woman coming of age as her family participates in the groundbreaking strike at the Vermont Mills. Well-researched and important, this book paints a full picture of the settings, conditions, and events of the time. It is also a moving portrait of friendship and justice. Recommended By Richard C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Rosas 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, and Rosa is terrified that her mother and older sister, Anna, are endangering their lives by marching against the corrupt mill owners. After all, didnt 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 is 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.
"Returning to themes she explored in Lyddie, Paterson sets this novel in the winter of 1912 in Lawrence, Mass., where the plight of textile mill workers unfolds through the alternating third-person perspectives of a boy millworker, Jake Beale, and Rosa Serutti, whose mother and sister work in the mill. The two meet when sixth-grader Rosa looks for her discarded shoes in the trash heap where 13-year-old Jake, who has fled his abusive, alcoholic father, plans to sleep for the night. Though they do not introduce themselves, Rosa offers the boy her family's kitchen floor for the night. Their paths cross again, most notably after the workers strike, and violence escalates to the point where striking parents send their children to families who support the union cause in New York City and Vermont. Rosa, headed to Vermont, helps Jake escape with her. The book feels like two stories in one: the first part immersed in details of the historical strike (an endnote lays out the facts), and the second part set in Barre, Vt. Unlike Lyddie, Rosa is a bystander to the workers' plight (though she does come up with the title mantra for the strikers), so readers may find her character elusive until the book's second half. Jake eventually becomes sympathetic, but mostly due to the kindness of the memorable Mr. Gerbati, the children's foster father and a gifted Vermont stonecutter. Readers may wish for an entire book about this gentle man. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[I]t is the kindness between the mean foster kid and a tough, needy adult (a dad this time) that breaks your heart." Booklist
"Paterson has skillfully woven true events and real historical figures into the fictional story and created vivid settings, clearly drawn characters, and a strong sense of the hardship and injustice faced by the mostly immigrant mill workers." School Library Journal
Newbery-author Katherine Paterson's tale of the 1912 mill workers' strike -- in paperback!
Rosas mother is singing againunion songs. Shes joined the strike against the corrupt mill owners. Rosa is terrified. What if Mamma is jailed or, worse, killed?
Jakes dad threatened to kill him if he joined the strike. For Jake, that is reason enough to do so.
Then Rosa, Jake, and the other children living in the middle of the strike are offered a very special opportunity: To live in Vermont until the strike is over. For Rosa, being away from her family is worse than seeing them in harms way. For Jake, its a chance to start over. For both of them, its a time of growing up.
About 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.