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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
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Reviewed Titles
Graphic Library

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Tells the story of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City on March 25, 1911. Written in graphic-novel format.

PublisherCapstone Press
BrandGraphic Library
Age Level8-14 Years
Reading LevelGrades 3-4
GenreGraphic Nonfiction
SubjectGraphic Novels
Trim Size7 x 9
Page Count32



Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Review

"The workers who labor in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory have a hard life. They get paid very little, they work long hours, and their employers even have the nerve to lock the workers in because they are afraid that they will steal things. There comes a time, however, when a former factory girl, Clara Lemlich, encourages the workers to go on strike. She is tired of hearing the union’s words. It is time for action and for change. And so in November of 1909 the Triangle Shirtwaist Company employees go on strike, asking for higher wages and fewer hours. Many of them are arrested and imprisoned, but they don’t give in and finally the owners agree to pay them a little more and reduce the required work hours to fifty-two hours a week. The owners refuse to unlock the doors during working hours, however. As long as the factory workers are on the clock they will be locked in the building. Then on March 25, 1911, a fire breaks out on the eighth floor of the building which houses the factory. The hoses in the building don’t work, nor does the phone. There is no way to warn everyone on the ninth and tenth floors about the danger. Worse still there is no way to open the doors and the fire escape is falling apart. The ladders that the firemen have are not long enough to reach the floors that are on fire and when some of the factory workers jump into the firemen’s net, the net breaks and they are killed. Some of the workers manage to escape by crawling across a ladder to the roof of building next door. In the end, the twenty minute fire killed one hundred and forty-six people. Because of the fire, conditions in factories were improved. Doors could no longer be locked and fire escapes had to be useable. Sprinkler systems were also installed. However, it was a very high price to pay to bring about change. This book tells the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire to great effect. The author not only describes what took place on that fateful day, but she also gives the reader plenty of background material about what it was like to be a factory worker in the early 1900s. In addition, she describes how something good did indeed come out of the tragedy. A “More about the Triangle Fire” section at the back of the book provides readers with further information about the event and its aftermath. With its graphic novel format and its well written story this title truly brings history to life making it engaging and interesting." - Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Review

March 1, 2008

Jewish Book Council, Jewish Book World

"Graphic novels have become popular with older children and adults. When publishers target younger readers with graphic non-fiction, the meshing of fact with image results in a format that appeals to today's visually orientated young people. Although invented dialogue and conversation boxes are characteristic of this genre ("AAAAAGH!" "NO!" "RRRIIIPP!"), the book also contains direct quotations clearly identified in the text by yellow backgrounds. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire presents the story of the tragic March 25, 1911 event through the lens of the labor activism that engulfed New York's garment industry at the time. Largely missing from this brief but accurate account is the specific Jewish connection to the labor strife. The actions of Clara Lemlich are appropriately depicted at the union rally which preceeded the 1909 garment workers strike, but the author ignores the specifically Jewish nature of the labor activism and the oath taken by the strikers. Although this book is not written from a Jewish perspective, it can serve as a dramatic initial introduction to the event, particularly for reluctant readers." - Jewish Book Council, Jewish Book World

September 1, 2006

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

"Publishers of all types of books are jumping on the bandwagon of graphic novels and non-fiction in an effort to capitalize on the rising popularity of this genre. The past year has seen entire runs of nonfiction titles in comic book style for children. . . . The Graphic History series from Graphic Library offers titles such as The Battle of Gettysburg and The Voyage of the Mayflower. Not surprisingly, we now have Capstone Press’s Graphic Library of Disasters in History, which includes such memorable events as The Apollo 13 Mission, The Attack on Pearl Harbor, The Donner Party, and The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. With easy-to-read text and large, brightly colored illustrations, this exciting retelling of the Triangle fire provides a good introduction to the topic. Readers unfamiliar with the events of the 1911 tragedy will gain a basic understanding of what life was like for immigrants working in factory settings and of the resulting safety measures that were put into place after the fire. Though slim in size, this graphic presentation is packed with facts, including two pages of additional information about the Triangle fire, a glossary, a guide to finding Internet sites, a list of further reading, a bibliography, and a comprehensive index. For grades 3 – 5." - Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

December 1, 2006

Jessica Gunderson

Jessica Gunderson

Jessica Gunderson grew up in the small town of Washburn, North Dakota. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota and an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has written more than fifty books for young readers. Her book Ropes of Revolution won the 2008 Moonbeam Award for best graphic novel. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and cat.

Go to the Author’s Page →