On Our Way to Oyster Bay by Monica KullingOn Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children's Rights by Monica Kulling
Illustrator: Felicita Sala
Published by Kids Can Press on September 6, 2016
Genres: Picture Book, History
Pages: 32
Format: eARC
Purchase at Bookshop.org
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Though eight-year-old Aidan and his friend Gussie want to go to school, like many other children in 1903, they work twelve hours, six days a week, at a cotton mill in Pennsylvania instead. So when the millworkers decide to go on strike, the two friends join the picket line. Maybe now life will change for them. But when a famous labor reformer named Mother Jones comes to hear of the millworkers' demands, she tells them they need to do more than just strike. Troubled by all she had seen, Mother Jones wanted to end child labor. But what could she do? Why, organize a children's march and bring the message right to President Theodore Roosevelt at his summer home in Oyster Bay, of course!

Good points:

Excellent introduction to Mother Jones and her cause. To be honest, I had never heard of her before and found her fascinating.

Told from a kid’s point of view, allowing children to relate

Takes others’ problems, like child labor, and reminds us that Americans have dealt with the same issues

Very good artwork, detailed and added to the story

Includes factual information for parents/adults at the end

Gives a call to action encouraging children that they can make a difference in the world

Negative points:

I can’t see this one being any kids favorite. It’s good and historical, just not engrossing.

May need some explanations, depending. Some kids may not be familiar with the sewing machinery terms, some may not even be familiar with what a strike is.

It’s disappointing that the kids don’t actually get to meet President Roosevelt.


A good one to borrow from the library.

A must-buy for an elementary school classroom library.


About Monica Kulling

Monica Kulling was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received a BA in creative writing from the University of Victoria. Monica Kulling has published twenty-six fiction and nonfiction books for children, including picture books, poetry, and biographies. She is best known for introducing biography to children just learning to read and has written about Harriet Tubman, Houdini, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart among others. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto, Canada.


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