In 1905, 10-year-old Billy Creekmore is being raised at the Guardian Angels Home for Boys, where he is beaten by Mr. Beadle and made to work long hours with little food. Then Meek Jones, a boy worker at the glass factory, dies due to hazardous working conditions. One beacon of light in this drudgery is Peggy, who does her best to help him experience some joy. The other boys add some mirth to his life as well.
Then, Billy gets wind of the fact that the administrators have plans to make him the glass factory's next victim. He lives on edge until a long-lost uncle saves him from such a plight. Uncle Jim does not want him to work in mines, so he learns to drive mules. Then, Golden Breedlove, a boy trapper in the mines, is crushed by a runaway coal car. The mines are closed for only one day, then business resumes as usual. Billy gets more involved with the union, then aspires to become a trick rider with Sparks World Famous Circus.
Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter, 2007
The author spent five years researching coal miners and their unions in the early twentieth century. She has been a middle school teacher for the past 20 years in Santa Monica, CA. I love historical fiction, and the information about child labor and the history of unions was interesting.