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Children's Books
Books about growing up in the coal region.
A Diamond in the Dust
Carla Joinson / Hardcover / April 2001
Ages 12 and up. Joinson evokes the hardships of life in a turn-of-the-century southern Illinois mining town in this affecting novel. Her 16-year-old heroine, Katy Sollis, knows there must be something better than the grit and terrible dangers of the mines, and she's determined to find it.
A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896
Suan Campbell Bartoletti / Hardcover / Published 2000
Ages 9 to 12. In 1896 Anetka Kaminska, 13, must leave her Polish village for an arranged marriage with a coal miner in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. Her husband, who was married once before, doesn't love her, and when he's killed in a mining accident a few months after the wedding, she's left to care for his three small daughters and take in boarders to survive. The appalling working conditions in the mines are an integral part of the story and so is the labor struggle for change.
Growing Up in Coal Country
Susan Campbell Bartoletti / Hardcover / Published 1996
Ages 9 and up. Based on personal interviews, newspaper accounts, mining inspection records, and other original sources, a pictorial portrait of life in the Pennsylvania coal mines and ""patch villages"" tells the heartbreaking but life-affirming story of children and adults for whom this region represented a way of life.
Together in Pinecone Patch ~
 Thomas F. Yezerski / Hardcover / Published 1998

Keara Buckley's family loves Ireland just as much as Stefan Pazik's family loves Poland, but when terrible hardships force them to leave their respective countries in search of a better life, they wind up in the same place--the dreary coal-mining town of Pinecone Patch, Pennsylvania. The Irish and Polish communities in the small town have a mutual disdain for each other, but when Keara and Stefan fall in love, everyone must learn to live together. Full color
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Breaker ~
N. A. Perez / Hardcover / Published 1988

After his father's death, fourteen-year-old Pat is forced to go to work in the coal mines that dominate his Pennsylvania town and becomes involved in the big mine workers' strike of 1902.
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Danger at the Breaker ~
Catherine A. Welch, Andrea Shine (Illustrator) / Paperback / Published 1992

A story about an eight-year-old boy's miserable and dangerous first day working at a coal mine in the 1800s. Andrew is heartbroken about leaving school, and then an explosion nearly kills his coal-miner father. Though the text offers a detailed view of a historical place and time, the story is dark and depressing.
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Emmy ~
Connie Jordan Green / School & Library Binding / Published 1992

Emmy, the eleven-year-old heroine of this gritty novel, faces tremendous hardship after her father loses his arm -- and his spirit -- in a mining accident. Green skillfully creates a convincing picture of the horrors of a system that allowed a disabled miner to be evicted from a company shack, but she also details the small pleasures of childhood in the mountains. A powerful and gripping story.
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In Coal Country (Dragonfly Books) ~
Judith Hendershot, Thomas B. Allen (Illustrator) / Paperback / Published 1992

This stunning picture book about life in an Ohio coal-mining town during the 1930s "offers such an authentic picture of growing up gritty that you almost expect it to rub off on your hands."--School Library Journal. ALA Notable Children's Book; Booklist Editors' Choice; New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year; Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies; Parents' Choice Remarkable Book for Illustration. Full-color illustrations.
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Molly Maguires
Coal Mining
Children's Books
John O'Hara
Conrad Richter
Darryl Ponicsan
Dorsey Brothers
Ralph Peters
Other Local Authors