Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose, Chicago, Illinois, 1871 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
One of the Dear America series, Down the Rabbit Hole; The Diary of Pringle Rose, Chicago, Illinois, 1871 (Lexile: 750; Interest Level: Grades 5-9) by Susan Campbell Bartoletti includes information about the labor wars of the post Civil War era, leading up to the Great Chicago Fire. Pringle Rose's father was the owner of coal mines in Pennsylvania, and as such, she has a pretty well-to-do lifestyle. She attends a prestigious boarding school, just like her mother did, and was used to the finer things in life. When Pringle's mother and father were killed in a carriage accident, her life changes drastically, and she has to make decisions to protect herself and her younger brother Gideon, who, judging by the description, has Down's Syndrome, a genetic anomaly that was not yet understood in her time period.
Pringle decides to escape her meddling aunt by running away with Gideon to Chicago to stay with her mother's best friend. On the journey, she makes some other friends who turn out to be quite valuable to the children when they are unable to connect with their mother's friend.
The older age of the girl in this story (almost 15) and some of the situations of her needing to be more adult than child are what places this Dear America book a little higher on the Interest Level than some others. As such, however, it is a good representation of the stories in this series. (256 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.