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Bread and Roses, Too

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,233 ratings  ·  335 reviews
2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

Rosa’s mother is singing again, for the first time since Papa died in an accident in the mills. But instead of filling their cramped tenement apartment with Italian lullabies, Mamma is out on the streets singing union songs, and Rosa is terrified that her mother and older sister, Anna, are endangering their lives by marching again
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published September 4th 2006 by Clarion Books (first published July 28th 2006)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  2,233 ratings  ·  335 reviews

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This is a lovely story that deals with the Lawrence Massachusetts mill workers' strike in 1912 that is associated with the song "Bread and Roses". I've always found the song very stirring--especially as sung by Judy Collins.

I was surprised to find a novel written from the perspective of two children about this event. I found the viewpoints of Jake and Rosa very believable.

It's a book that isn't just about the strike. It's about the role of education, ethnic identity and the meaning
Tara Chevrestt
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a very good YA historical novel. It tells about the Lawrence Strike of 1912. Factories cut the work week back two hours, depriving already hungry and cold families of a couple of badly needed loaves of bread.

We see both sides of the fence so to speak. Rosa is against the strike even tho her mother and sister are a part of it. Her teacher is partly to blame for Rosa's doubts. Also, Rosa is worried that her mother will get hurt or worse, murdered because the strike does get out hand a fe
Katie Wendell
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: A younger sibling
Recommended to Katie by: Mrs. Phillips
Shelves: ela-honors
Bread and Roses,Too is a great book about two kids and their different yet very similar lives through the 1912 Lawrence Labor strike. This historical fiction novel showed the many hardships and challenges children living in Lawrence, Massachusetts had to overcome. The daily struggle of the logistics of the strike, safety, and your life were all things the two main characters, Rosa and Jake had to face.

Throughout the book there were some moments I couldn't put it down and other parts through w
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sweet-and-sour
If you enjoy historical fiction, this book is really good! The two main characters are Jake and Rosa, children who live in Lawrence, MA, during the historical period of the bread and roses mill strikes.

At first I thought this was a book of different short stories because of the chapter titles such as "Shoe Girl" and "The Best Student" and "The Beautiful Mrs. Gurley Flynn" that sounded unrelated. However, each chapter provided more insight into the lives of the main characters and the trials the
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Carefully crafted tale about two children caught up in the Lawrence, MA mill workers' strike of 1912, based on fact. The girl is Rosa, from a struggling Italian immigrant family. The other is Jake, a native-born who has learned to steal and lie to survive. The children are sent to Barre, VT to stay with sympathetic families during the turbulent strike, where each one learns a life lesson about themselves.

I loved the two characters and how they represented two victims of the workers'
Yay for children's historical fiction. Maybe the kids learned something from this book.

Frankly, it bored me. I was not captivated by this book, yet I gave it two stars because I like the setting in time, and am fascinated by the 1900s strikes. Rosa annoyed me.

On to the next read
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I didn't know anything about the Bread and Roses Strike of 1912, so reading this book was a learning experience for me. I enjoyed the characters and the way the different ethnic groups were portrayed. The ending was a tad predictable, but that's OK.
Michael Fitzgerald
Mostly listened to the audio, but finished with print. Good narration and nice to have Italian and Irish dialects. Jake not as good - a bit too Bart Simpson-as-a-juvenile-gangster.

When it comes to the fiction, Paterson's writing is superb. I felt her integration of the history wasn't as perfect. I never really got the feeling that I was living at the time. It had a modern slant to it.

I wish the book had given the year (1912) earlier on - I had a rough idea, but wasn't exactly sure whether this
Ellie Frazier
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is into american history
Recommended to Ellie by: my teacher
Shelves: ela-honors
Bread and Roses too was a great book about two young kids with two very different backgrounds. Their similarities and differences all make up the unique relationship that these two characters develop.
This book takes place in the time period of the Bread and Roses Strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Jake and Rosa, the two main characters, are both living in Lawrence during the time of the strike. The strike affects Jake and Rosa in two very different ways but it all works out in the end.
Rosa is
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewedbooks
Bread and Roses, Too is about a girl named Rosa and a boy Jake, two different people who met once in an alley where Jake slept. They live in a place where many people are going on strike because of the little pay they recieve at the Mills.

Rosa is a good school girl without a father, who knows better, but is caught up in the strikes. Her mother and sister go along with the crowds of people striking. Jake, a boy who lives on the street, works at the mills, and gets beaten by his alcoholic father,
Jake at 13, use to work in the mills but now there is a strike going on. His father who doesn't work, takes Jake's money to buy booze and beats Jake. Jake is fed up with the beatings and lives where he can. Most of the time, on the streets but also at the shoe girl's house and sometimes in one of the two local Catholic churches where he takes coins from the money box. He's tried more than once to go back to work but gets stopped by the strikers.

Rosa lives with her mother, sister, brother and bo
Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
This book should be required reading for students, for anybody pro-union and for anybody anti-union. So basically everyone.

This book is a fictional account of the 1912 labor strike in the US which we see through the eyes of two children Rosa and Jake. Had it not been for the strike these two would never have met.

This book is beautifully written. Each and every character in this book left an impression on me. It was such a touching story.

I picked up this book after watching Bridge to Terabithi
Dec 04, 2008 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this historical fiction for young readers, recommended by my daughter, who chose to write about it for a school assignment. Interestingly, she focused on the Italian-American and Roman Catholic background of one of the main characters, rather than on the book's recounting of the early 20th century Labor movement.
(N.B., I was frustrated by a tantalizing typo within the final paragraphs of this hardcover edition: a 3-line paragraph was included twice, and about the same number of l
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was interesting since I didn't know much about the strike at the Lawrence mills. Now that I'm an adult, I hardly read young adult books anymore (Harry Potter and Hunger Games don't count) so it was a blast from the past to read such a simple book about good and evil.

However, now that I'm an adult, it would be interesting to read about this in a book written for grown-ups - I'm sure it would be complex.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This is a sweet and moving book--but it's definitely written for a younger audience. ("The Given Day" remains one of the best books I've read that gives a front-row perspective to a powerful labor dispute.) Some YA authors write for younger people seamlessly in a way that you don't feel like you're being talked down do. This one definitely reads like it was written for younger readers, so I was a bit disappointed--I was expecting more finesse from an author like Katherine Paterson.
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a great book. It takes place during the strikes in wool mills in Massachusetts. The main character is a young Italian immagrant named Rosa, who lives with her mother, sister, and little brother. Her mother sends her to Burre, Vermont on a train with other children, to live with a foster family during the strike.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a good book to read because its based on a large strike for more money and the girls mom is on strike and she is mad because they are poor with 5 people liveing in her house with her dad just passing away and she finds out her mom is sending her away.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting to learn about the history of immigrants working in factories in the early 1900's and how a strike against terrible working conditions for both adults and children affected the families.
Interesting story, I did not see a lot of depth.
Gus Gilbertson
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic story of redemption for a young boy stuck in poverty in an early 20th century mill town.

Enjoyed reading about the struggles of two hungry children as they lived through lean times during a mill strike. Have not read a story like this in a very long time.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid historical fiction piece that any age can read, but I’m reading it for tween book group (grades 5-7) and I think that’s the exact right level for a discussion.
Alexa Benware
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book gives off a radiance of hope and prosperity, that we all need in our lives. Just remember- a fire always starts with a spark. Amazing story, I practically had my hands glued to the book!
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book explores the struggle of factory workers as unions were forming. The tone of the book is light enough that the weighty material doesn't seem traumatic, and the ending is hopeful.
Lee T Ka
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
While this is a story about a worker's strike in 1912, the themes of exploitation, politics and immigrant rights are nearly identical to today's world. While some things had improved in the intervening 107 years, in many ways we have regressed, especially when it comes to "othering" recent immigrants. I thought that had improved, but in reading this story, it's clear that the shaming of people for their culture of origin and the rush/push to make them as American (essentially English) as possibl ...more
Christine Smith
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always wanted to read this book and when the Vermont Humanities Council made it the 2018 Vermont Read, I had my chance. Full disclaimer, I am a former History teacher who taught Barre, VT History at Spaulding High School so I am partial to anything written about Barre. I have also taught about the Lawrence Strike and so it was a pleasure to read about these two special places in one book. Paterson's story is based around a real event and an image located in the Barre Historical Society de ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hadn't put down that I actually finished this book months ago- oops. But it honestly might have taken me that long if it weren't a book I had to read for school.

The characterization in this book was pretty awful. Rosa was also a very flat character, who didn't interest me at all. She felt like a Mary Sue, where her one flaw was… I don't know, wanting to keep her family safe? Is that even a flaw?

Jake was the only person in this book worth reading about- it's a shame that
Kylie Fodge
Dec 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: honors-ela-8
Since lately I can't seem to decide upon my feelings or opinions whatsoever [it's a teenage thing I guess], I can't say for sure whether or not I really enjoyed this book. However, I can say that it didn't bore me quite as much as I thought it would, being historical fiction. Of course, it still dragged on with historical information at some points, but knowing some of the history [also through class review] helped me understand and enjoy the story a bit more.

My favorite part of the book was wh
David Dennett
Dec 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: school-books
Bread and Roses, Too had some ups and down...well mostly downs I thought. I personally thought this book was lame and was not interested at one point in this story and I believe it was a huge waste of time. I had lost my book for some time during our readings but still was able to stay up to tempo because it was so predictable. Also the characters were un relatable I thought and were boring. These kind of books really don't interest me and I hope we will read something in the future that doesn't ...more
Aryana Ahmad
1. Personal Reaction: When reading this story I found it to be kind of boring. It felt as if the story wasn't getting anywhere, but when the story started going (the last 100 pages) started to become more interesting. When Rosa and Sal got shipped off to Vermont it became more interesting. I don't think a lot of little kids would be interested in reading this story.
2. Purpose/Use in the classroom: The genre of this story is considered historical fiction. This book could be used for a histo
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
In 1912, the mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts went on a strike that lasted over two months and was marked by a great deal of police brutality, at women and children as well as at men. I have read about this strike before, and was eager to read Paterson’s new children’s novel on the same subject. Immigrants from many nations lived in squalid conditions and worked long hours in the mills; in order to earn enough money to feed their families, many workers had their children working in the m ...more
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From author's website:

People are always asking me questions I don't have answers for. One is, "When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?" The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary. When I was twenty