Counting on Grace

The living and working conditions of working class families during the turn of the century in northern New England left families desperate and without many options to resolve their awful financial situations. As a result, families were often eager to have their children leave school to work in the mines or mills. Knowing how perilous her family's situation is, 12 year old Grace is eager to work in the textile mill, doffing with her mother. Being two years too young to legally do the work is not a problem. Her mother produces documents from an older sister who died as a baby. Soon Grace learns that working as a doffer is far more difficult, dangerous and exhausting than she had realized. She would much rather be in school reading and writing. When she finds out that her best friend Arthur is attending school on Sundays, she joins him and his teacher, Miss Lesley. Eager to leave mill life, the three devise a plan that will bring attention to the injustices of Child Labor, exposing the fact that the mill is illegally hiring children and making them work under deplorable conditions. Honor Book for Older Children, 2007.

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