Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Me And Mother Jones, We've Got A Thing Going On

Until this spring, all I knew about Mother Jones was that it was the name of a magazine I'd never read and didn't know anything about, though I can tell you now that it does investigative journalism. Then this spring,  I was reading A People's History of the United States, and the author, Howard Zinn, starts in about "Mother Mary Jones, a seventy-five-year-old white-haired woman who was organizer for the United Mine Workers of America," I thought, Aha! That can't be a coincidence. And it wasn't. The magazine was, indeed, named for Mary Jones, known as "Mother" during her later activist years.

Stick With Me, Folks. There's A Mother Jones Childlit Connection Coming

A couple of months after reading A People's History, I'm reading the March/April issue of The Horn Book and what do I see but a review of Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children by Jonah Winter with illustrations by Nancy Carpenter! The book deals with an incident that appears in both the AFL-CIO bio of Jones and the Mother Jones magazine material about her in which Mother Jones organized child workers in a march from Philadephia to President Theodore Roosevelt's home in Oyster Bay, New York.

Two Points

  • I love it when something new to me repeats in my life, the way Mother Jones did in the Zinn book and this picture book review. I'm sure I've written about this before here. And I'm guessing there is a word to describe this experience. Not deja vu, since that deals with the experience of feeling you've been somewhere before or lived an experience before. Perhaps the Germans have a word for this, since they are quite good at coming up with words for odd experiences.
  • Though I have not read Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children, the set up for this book sounds like a classic way of introducing children to a historical figure we wouldn't necessarily expect them to connect with. The author finds something about the subject children should be attracted to, in this case, other children. That aspect of the book reminds me of Susanna Reich's Minette's Feast, in which child readers are introduced to Julia Child by way of her cat. 


Oh, And Since We're Discussing Introducing The Young To Adult Subjects...


A family member who is a middle school librarian brought  A Young People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn with Rebecca Stetoff  to my attention. It's a young adult edition of Zinn's original book. I would not say that this is the only history of the United States a young person, or anyone else, should read, but it certainly will give someone who already knows something about American history something to consider.

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