Carney-Coston, Barbara. To the Copper Country: Mihaela’s Journey. Wayne State University Press.
To the Copper Country: Mihaela's Journey is based on the family history of author Barbara Carney-Coston. Her ancestors made the voyage from Croatia to Michigan in the late nineteenth century, a time when many different groups were immigrating to the United States in search of a new life and better opportunities for their families. A common thread runs throughout the accounts of most immigrants, in terms of sacrifice, assimilation, and cultural contribution to a growing America. But Mihaela's story is unique in that her exploration of this new land is critical to her father's survival.
Ryan, Pam Muñoz. Esperanza Rising. Scholastic, 2002.
Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico, and that she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstance; Mama's life, and her own, depend on it. Pam Munoz Ryan eloquently portrays the Mexican workers' plight in this abundant and passionate novel that gives voice to those who have historically been denied one.
Hughes, Pat. The Breaker Boys.Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2004.
The son of a wealthy Pennsylvania coal mine operator, Nate Tanner resents being shipped off to boarding school. Anger—mainly at his father and stepmother—is what gets him there and what prevents him from making friends. Then, in the spring of 1897, it gets him kicked out and sent home. To avoid his family, Nate disappears on his bicycle every day. In this way he meets the breaker boys, who do dangerous, dirty work for his father, separating coal from debris. Nate admires these Polish immigrants, especially Johnny, and longs to become his friend. But the only way is for Nate to hide that he is the boss's son. As Nate and Johnny's friendship marches toward the moment of truth, Nate discovers that the mine workers are plotting a strike. Should he warn his family or protect his friend?
Paterson, Katherine. Bread and Roses, Too.Clarion Books, 2006.
After Rosa’s father dies in a mill accident, her mother goes to the streets singing union songs. Both her mother and older sister, Anna, begin marching for worker’s rights and safety at the textile mill. Rosa is scared, especially after she is sent to Vermont with strangers until the strike is over. This is based on the historical 1912 Bread and Roses strike. Many of the workers were immigrants, including Rosa’s Italian family.
Wallace, Sandra Neil. Muckers.Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.
Felix "Red" O'Sullivan's world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town and his high school with it. But Red's got his own burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he's been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby's old position as quarterback and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship.