Labour in Children's Books

Teaching about labour, unions, and strikes

Posted on February 10, 2020

Information about the Ontario teachers' strike can be found on the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario's website.

Resources to teach about labour, unions, and strikes in our classrooms:

Start with the ETFO's Teaching Kit for the intermediate grades:

Learning from Labour Intermediate Teaching Kit from the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Books featured in the video:

Greenwood, Barbara. Factory Girl. Kids Can Press, 2007.

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Kids on Strike! Scholastic, 1999.

Dublin, Anne. 44 Hours or Strike! Second Story Press, 2015.

Markel, Michelle. Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909. Balzer + Bray, 2013.

McCully, Emily Arnold. The Bobbin Girl. Dial, 1996.

Warren, Sarah. Delores Huerta: A hero to migrant workers. Two Lions, 2012.

Clark-Robinson, Monica. Let the Children March. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.

Duncan, Alice Faye. Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The sanitation strike of 1968. Penguin, 2018.

Mackay, Claire. Pay Cheques & Picket Lines: All about unions in Canada. Kids Can Press, 1987.

Morrison, J.A. Labour Day. Weigl Educational Publishers, 2011.

Graphic Novels:

A Share in the Honour: Canada's Fight for Decent Work in Joseph Atkinson's Times. Atkinson Foundation, 2017. Download a copy here.

Ellyn, Laura. Ginger Goodwin: A Worker's Friend. Between the Lines, 2016.

Graphic History Collective and David Lester. 1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg Strike. Between the Lines, 2018.


Newsies. Disney, 1992.

Newsies Study Guide related to Broadway Musical.

See this 2010 blog post by a teacher candidate who taught with Newsies. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a worksheet and lesson plan that she developed.

See Also:

Preston, Caroline. (2018, March 8). "Can Educating Kids About Unions Prepare Them for the Future of Work?." The Hechinger Report.

Lesson Plans:

Labor Day and Unions Today from (grades 6-12)

Labor Unions and Working Conditions: United We Stand from Library of Congress (grades 6-12)

Labor Matters from Teaching Tolerance (grades 6-12)

Labor Matters from Zinn Education Project (grades 6-12)

Labor Unions in Cotton Mills from the National History Education Clearinghouse (grades 8-12)