Written By: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by: Kristy Caldwell
For Ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Feminism, Worker’s Rights, Activism, Legislation, History.
Even if you haven’t heard of Frances Perkins, you’ve certainly heard of Social Security, which she helped FDR make into a reality for Americans. This book explores the life of lifelong activist Frances Perkins, and how her social justice work still impacts citizens today.
Frances was born in 1880 in Boston to a family that believed in social service and education, which provided many opportunities for Frances to use her privilege to help others and even get a master’s degree! After she witnessed the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Frances vowed to help workers get better working conditions and hours. She began working with lawmakers and brought them into the factories to see the heinous working conditions that children were enduring for a meager paycheck. Frances’ tireless work eventually landed her with a job on the presidential cabinet-the first woman to do so! With FDR, Frances created the first version of Social Security benefits, which we still have today.
I really like the additional information in back about Frances, and Social Security. Frances was a force to be reckoned with, and her core beliefs rooted in social justice are inspiring as some legislators push for the second iteration of the New Deal, the Green New Deal. Thanks to Frances Perkins is an awesome book for the young social justice warrior in your life!
This book was kindly sent to us by Peachtree Publishing, but all opinions are my own.
Deborah Hopkinson has a masters degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she studied the role of women in 13th-century Japanese Buddhism. She lived in Honolulu for 20 years and practiced Zen Buddhism with the late Roshi Robert Aitken, founder of the Diamond Sangha and Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She lives near Portland, Oregon, where she writes books for children and teens.
She is the author of more than 50 books for young readers including picture books, middle grade fiction, and nonfiction. At schools and conferences she helps bring history and research alive. Her work is well-suited for STEM, STEAM, and CCSS connections.
Deborah’s recent nonfiction includes DIVE! WWII Stories of Sailors and Submarines in the Pacific, named an Oregon Spirit Award Honor Book. Courage & Defiance, Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in WWII Denmark, won a 2017 Oregon Book Award, and Titanic: Voices from the Disaster, was a Robert F. Sibert Award honor book and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction finalist.
Deborah’s picture books include Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen, Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book and Apples to Oregon. Follow the Moon Home won the Green Earth Book Award, while Steamboat School was named winner of a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Deborah’s middle grade novel, A Bandit’s Tale was a recommended title for the Charlotte Huck Award.The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel won the OCTE Oregon Spirit Award.
Deborah received a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She lives near Portland, OR with her family and a menagerie of pets. Her husband, Andy, is a winemaker and artist; her son, Dimitri, is a photographer and landscaper; her daughter, Rebekah, is a teacher and chalk artist, and her toddler grandson, Oliver, is simply extraordinary!
Kristy Caldwell is an illustrator from Louisiana, based in Brooklyn. Her first picture book, Flowers for Sarajevo, was a Kirkus Best Picture Book of 2017. She’s illustrated several books for kids, including upcoming picture book Thanks to Frances Perkins, Fighter for Workers’ Rights by Deborah Hopkinson (August 2020). Kristy also has a history of providing graphic art to theatre companies and is married to theatre director Kelly O’Donnell. She shares a studio with a gang of great artists: Ben Voldman, Chi Birmingham, Hyesu Lee, and Rumi Hara.