Brown takes us behind the scenes at a day-care center that works. At Red Caboose, one of the oldest independent centers in the country, we meet teachers who have worked with young children for more than twenty years. We watch the child-care union and parents struggle to negotiate a contract without ripping apart the fabric of trust and love that holds the Red Caboose community together. We investigate the center's sometimes precarious finances, to see what keeps Red Caboose going at a time when other good centers are disappearing. Best of all, we get to know the children, families, and teachers of Red Caboose - their struggles, their sorrows, their triumphs. Brown sets her rich and engaging stories in the greater political and social context of our time. Why is so much child care bad? Why should working Americans worry about the link between welfare reform and child care? What can we learn from the history of child care?
Harriet Brown is editor of Wisconsin Trails magazine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Glamour, Ms., Health, Chicago Tribune, and other publications. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and two daughters, both of whom attended Red Caboose Day-Care Center, which she profiles in this book.