A diminutive red-headed immigrant to the United States who began working full-time when she was thirteen years old: Rose Schneiderman may seem an unlikely heroine or someone destined to improve the lives of her fellow workers, but Rose certainly didn’t know that. Nor did she anticipate that the sweatshop that employed her and many other women would be freezing in the winter, sweltering in the summer, and filthy all the time. Sanitation was not a priority — rats were everywhere — and danger was a constant. Rose also noticed that women were routinely paid less than men. Her determination to improve conditions for all workers led this young visionary on a path toward a remarkable career.
The International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which helps employees receive benefits and equitable treatment, is one result of Rose’s activism. She is a role model for today’s young people.
Although Rose Spoke Out is a picture book aimed at kids who are five through eight, older children and adults will find the story fascinating, too. The art evokes the era, enhancing the reader’s overall experience. The book concludes with historical photographs and a note about tikkun olam, or making the world a better place.
Award-winning journalist and freelance writer, Helen Weiss Pincus, has taught memoir writing and creative writing throughout the NY Metro area to senior citizens and high school students. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Record, The Jewish Standard, and other publications. She recently added “Bubby” to her job description.