HR Strange But True

Children’s Books Helped Shape the American Workplace, Says the DOL

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the federal Department of Labor developed an initiative, “Books that Shaped Work in America,” in conjunction with the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. And books you would find in the children’s section of a bookstore have made the list!

Along with books about presidents and secretaries of labor, as well as classics of literature by authors such as John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, and Willa Cather, these children’s books made the cut on a list of selections by an elite panel:

Busy, Busy Town by Richard Scarry—Describes how “everyone is rushing to work” from janitors to teachers, the book shows the value of all occupations and how they contribute to both self-worth and society.

What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry—Tells children that “some people work indoors, and some people work outdoors,” but that all workplace pursuits are valuable in Busy Town.

I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems—Shows little ones the importance of role-play and using their imagination.

To see the entire list of books, go to

The initiative is soliciting more recommendations to the list, so you can send in your suggestions of your favorite books about work, whether for kids or adults.