MISSING FROM HAYMARKET SQUARE by Harriette Gillem Robinet

MISSING FROM HAYMARKET SQUARE

Age Range: 8 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Historical fiction illuminates the events leading up to the 1886 Haymarket Riot. Twelve-year-old Dinah isn’t much different from the mass of poor children working in Chicago’s factories. She’s always hungry; her family shares one room of a tenement with two others; she works 12 hours a day at a clothing factory; she unhappily supplements her family’s meager income through petty theft. But she is different in one key respect: her father is an African-American labor leader who is instrumental in organizing the May 1 march calling for an eight-hour day. When her father is arrested days before the march, Dinah takes it upon herself to free him. Robinet (Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues, 2000, etc.) keeps her young heroine busy, what with work, her rescue mission, and her attendance at various labor gatherings, resulting in a somewhat uneven narrative flow. This is very much fiction-with-a-mission, and it’s perfectly clear who the villains are, but the text strives to avoid oversimplification, including in its set pieces an encounter with a sympathetic police officer and a glimpse of the pressures brought to bear on the harsh manager of the factory where Dinah works. While Dinah’s grasp of the big labor picture and her energy in the face of her privation occasionally strain credulity, they do allow the text to articulate the issues and to take the reader to the scene of the action. In doing so, it introduces them to an episode in US history rarely covered for children—as a bibliography void of children’s titles will attest. (author’s note, bibliography) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83895-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2001




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