January 1905 is a short novel written for readers 10 years old and up. It took me an hour and a half to finish with only 170 pages. This story follows twin sisters, Pauline and Arlene, as they struggle to see the world through the others eyes. One sister works in a Cotton Mill with her family for 13 hours per day while the other one works at home maintaining the house because of a disability. Neither one of them think they have anything in common until an accident at the Cotton Mill brings them together.
Author, Katherine Boling, was inspired to write this short novel after seeing pictures of working conditions of children in the early 1900's. This story reminds me of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry in the way that it tells an important part of history through children's eyes. I could see this book being used in schools as a way to enhance a history lessons about early America and how labor laws were created.
This book actually reminded me of my mother and my aunt. They didn't work in Cotton Mills, but there is a portion of the story that talks about playing "Jacks". My mom and my aunt are "Irish Twins" meaning they were born within the same year, 10 1/2 months apart to be more specific. On a recent family gathering they met up at Cracker Barrel and partook in a good old game of Jacks. This is the image I thought about while reading...I thought maybe this is what Pauline and Arlene would have looked like when they grew up...still together, still playing Jacks.