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50 Books about Labor

Compiled by Megan Schliesman
© 2012 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Originally developed in 2003 as part of a 12-month series in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Cooperative Children's Book Center, this bibliography was updated in 2012.

The bibliography is meant to suggest ways to explore labor and work through children's literature. The books on this list either feature work and workers (even if it isn't the theme of the book), or explore labor and related issues.


Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies


On the Job: Workers All Around

    Banerjee, Anjali. Seaglass Summer. Wendy Lamb Books, 2010. 163 pages. Ages 7-10

    Banks, Kate. The Night Worker. Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 2 - 5

    Borden, Louise. The A+ Custodian. Illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004. 38 pages. Ages 5-8

    Chin-Lee, Cynthia. Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World. Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy. Charlesbridge, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 5-10

    Cumpiano, Ina. Quinito's Neighborhood = El Vecindario de Quinito. Illustrated by José Ramírez. Children's Book Press, 2005. 22 pages. Ages 3-5

    Demarest, Chris L. Firefighters A to Z. Margaret K. McElderry, 2000. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 5

    Hopkinson, Deborah. Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. Schwartz & Wade Books / Random House, 2006. 40 pages. Ages 5-9

    Hudson, Cheryl Willis. Construction Zone. Photographed by Richard Sobol. Candlewick Press, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

    Katz, Jon . Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm. Henry Holt, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 4-9

    Levine, Arthur A. Monday Is One Day. Illustrated by Julian Hector. Scholastic Press, 2011. 28 pages. Ages 2-4

    Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. Who Will I Be, Lord?. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Random House, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Perkins, Mitali. Rickshaw Girl. Illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Charlesbridge, 2007. 91 pages. Ages 8-10

    Pilkey, Dav. The Paperboy. Orchard, 1996. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Williams, Vera B.. A Chair for My Mother. Greenwillow, 1982. Ages 4 - 9


Busy Lives: Working Teens

    Bauer, Joan. Rules of the Road. G.P. Putnam, 1998. 201 pages. Ages 13-16

    Connor, Leslie. Crunch. Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, 2010. 330 pages. Ages 10 - 13

    Jiménez, Francisco. Reaching Out. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. 196 pages. Age 12 and older

    King, A. S.. Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. 326 pages. Ages 14 and older

    Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Dairy Queen. Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 278 pages. Ages 13-16

    Myers, Walter Dean. Harlem Summer. Scholastic Press, 2007. 165 pages. Ages 12-15

    Na, An. The Fold. Putnam, 2008. 280 pages. Age 12 and older

    Reinhardt, Dana . How to Build a House. Wendy Lamb Books / Random House, 2008. 227 pages. Age 14 and older


Many Hands: Collaborative Work

    Cooper, Elisha. Farm. Orchard Books/Scholastic, 2010. 48 pages. Ages 4 - 9

    Gershator, David and Phillis. Bread Is for Eating. Illustrated by Emma Shaw Smith. Henry Holt, 1995. 28 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Hawkins, Aaron R.. The Year Money Grew on Trees. Houghton Mifflin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 293 pages. Ages 9 - 12

    Lyon, George Ella. You and Me and Home Sweet Home. Illustrated by Stephanie Anderson. A Richard Jackson Book / Atheneum, 2009. 40 pages. Ages 4 - 8

    Marcus, Leonard S.. Side by Side: Five Favorite Picture-Book Teams Go to Work. Walker, 2001. 64 pages. Ages 8 - adult

    Newhouse, Maxwell. The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew. Tundra, 2010. 24 pages. Ages 4 - 7

    Pinkney, Jerry . The Little Red Hen. Dial, 2006. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Purmell, Ann. Maple Syrup Season . Illustrated by Jill Weber. Holiday House, 32 pages. Ages 5-9

    Rosen, Michael J.. Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family’s Farm. Darby Creek, 2008. 144 pages. Ages 8-14


Hand in Hand: The Hard Work of Activism

    Bausum, Ann. With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Women's Right to Vote. National Geographic, 2004. 111 pages. Ages 11-14

    Brimner, Larry Dane. Strike! The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights. Calkins Creek / Highlights, 2014. 172 pages. Ages 13 and Up

    George, Madeleine. The Difference Between You and Me. Viking, 2012. 256 pages. Age 12 and older

    Krull, Kathleen. Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Harcourt, 2003. 48 pages. Ages 5 - 9

    Marrin, Albert. Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 182 pages. Age 12 and older

    Mason, Margaret H.. These Hands. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

    Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Little, Brown and Company, 2010. 40 pages. Ages 7 - 10


All Work and No Play: Child Labor

    Atkin, S. Beth. Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories. Joy Street/Little, Brown, 1993. 96 pages. Ages 9 - 14

    Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Kids on Strike!. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. 208 pages. Ages 11 - 16

    Ellis, Deborah. I Am a Taxi. Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 2006. 205 pages. Ages 10-14

    McCully, Emily Arnold. The Bobbin Girl. Dial, 1996. 32 pages. Ages 8 - 11

    Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising. Scholastic, 2000. 262 pages. Ages 10 - 14



This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.



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