New kids’ book tells sweet story of what unions do

A UNION WORKER’S STORY: Jake repairs broken toys in the cover illustration for ‘Good Guy Jake.’


Illinois Correspondent

This Christmas, how about getting someone a kids’ book that will teach them of the good that unions do in the community?

Hardball Press, a union-supporting publisher from Brooklyn, NY, is offering just that in Good Guy Jake, a 56-page, bilingual picture book for ages 4-10 that tells the story of Jake Martin, a New York sanitation worker.

As the story unfolds, Jake collects toys that have been thrown away so he can repair them and give them to children in a homeless shelter. He loses his job after a man complains that Jake’s truck delayed him while Jake was collecting toys.

So Jake, a member of United Street Cleaners Union, files a grievance and goes before an arbitration judge with the support of union lawyers. After that, well, you know it’s going to be a happy ending.

Good Guy Jake was written by Mark Torres, general counsel for Teamsters Local 810. It was illustrated by Yana Murashko, and Madelin Arroyo provided a Spanish translation that appears on each text page below the English. In Spanish, the book is called Buen Chico Jake.


Torres provides this dedication: “This book is inspired by and dedicated to all the past, present and future hard-working brothers and sisters of the Labor Movement, along with union representatives and service professionals who have dedicated their careers to the assistance and betterment of the working class. Union strong!”

Publisher Tim Sheard urged buyers to take the book to local schools, libraries, book stores, day care centers and pediatric offices and ask them to offer it to children they serve.

“The children will learn the real union story – advocating for social justice for working people,” Sheard said. “Help defeat that anti-union, anti-working class propaganda put out by right-wing media and political hacks!”

Good Guy Jake sells for $12.50 paperback or $20 hardcover, with a 10-percent discount for 10 or more and 30-percent discount for 50 or more. For this and other Labor-oriented books, go online to or call (917) 428-1352. Discounts are also available to unions and social justice organizations.


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