Rosie the Riveter: The Legacy of an American Icon

by Sarah Dvojack (Author) Sarah Dvojack (Illustrator)

Rosie the Riveter: The Legacy of an American Icon
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

This gorgeous picture book highlights how an iconic image of a working woman evolved into an inspirational symbol of hope and strength for all girls and women.

Rosie the Riveter was born in 1942, in the middle of the Second World War. Riveting is a way to hold pieces together to make something strong and powerful. In a time when everything was coming apart, America turned to Rosie and American women to hold things together. 

Over time, Rosie came to represent so much more. As women pushed back against all the things society suggested they could not do, they used the symbol of Rosie to motivate, represent, and unite them. Today, Rosie isn't just one woman--she's every woman. Like a rivet, she holds us all together, reminding us how far we've come and how far we still have to go.

This inspirational text traces Rosie's formation and legacy from World War II to today, letting girls know that they are capable and strong--just like Rosie and the long history of strong women who came before and after. Included in the back of the book is additional information on the history of Rosie the Riveter. An Imprint Book

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4--This book traces the origin and lasting impact of the Rosie the Riveter symbol, from factory work during World War II to the contemporary workplace. The text often speaks of Rosie as a real person, mentioning that she was "born" in 1942, which may confuse young readers who don't yet understand that she was an image, not an individual. The symbolism is heavy-handed throughout. In one instance, the text says that during wartime the men were "taking the rivets out of the world" while Rosie was riveting "a ship or a bridge or maybe even a world." This is rather reductive as both the men and the women were working on behalf of the same war effort. Partway through, the narrative changes focus from the singular "Rosie" figure to "Rosies" as representing all women, specifically contemporary women doing jobs that were once restricted to men. Where the book stumbles is in trying to give Rosie partial credit for the achievements of women throughout history. In one spread, a stream of significant female figures, both historic and contemporary, are depicted. While the message is that the spirit of Rosie has always been present in the world's strong and independent women, it doesn't work to imply that a white WWII media image was party to helping women of color, such as Harriet Tubman, break barriers. The occasionally clumsy execution aside, the idea that all women are "Rosies" and have a fighting spirit is an inspiring one for young readers. Back matter includes more detailed informational content regarding gender inequities in the workplace, including today's gender wage gap. It also further investigates the various media portrayals of Rosie during World War II. VERDICT A heavily symbolic ode to an American cultural icon.--Alyssa Annico, Youngstown State Univ., OH

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Readers will have fun trying to identify groundbreaking historical figures and noting touches of Rosie in final images of modern women. Endnotes offer more details on the creation of the Rosie the Riveter campaign. An inspiring story for young feminists. —Booklist

A heavily symbolic ode to an American cultural icon. —School Library Journal

Sarah Dvojack
Sarah Dvojack grew up in Washington state, where she developed a passion for all things history, circus, and Irish dance. She graduated from Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in Graphic Design and went on to study in the School of Visual Arts' MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program. She currently works as a book designer and lives in New York. Rosie the Riveter is her first picture book as an author-illustrator.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2021

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