More than 190 countries have signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in an effort to stop child labor. Yet millions of children, some as young as five are part of the world's work force. The International Labor Organization estimated in 2006 that 218 million children between the ages of five and seventeen were employed full-time. How can this be? Who is to blame? Multinational companies? Cost conscious consumers who always looking for a bargain? Parents who sell their children into slavery or force them to work to pay the bills? Part of the "Voices" series from Smart Apple Media, this book deals with this disturbing problem. It does not pretend to provide an answer to the child labor problem. Rather it presents all sides of the issue in order to stimulate debate and discussion. What makes it stand out from other books on the same topic is its heavy reliance on first person accounts from experts in the field as well as child laborers around the world, such as eleven year old Jose who works in Bolivia's metal mines, or twelve year old Mani who worked in Arizona fields that had just been sprayed with chemicals. In addition to statistics, charts, graphs, photographs, and short, information packed text, it includes a timeline, glossary, comprehensive index, suggested books, and websites for further reading. Aimed at students in grade seven and above, this volume will be a welcome addition to school and library shelves everywhere. Reviewer: Pat Trattles
- Jennifer Miskec
This series is dedicated to a multi-perspective examination of some of the major social issues of the current moment. Each text offers statistics, graphs, quotations (from politicians and scientists to children and laborers), and many photographs to make clear how AIDS, poverty, child labor, war, violence, and hunger (topics of the first six books in the series) affect the world today. An eye to how the issue affects young people—and how young people can help—is also a priority. Each book ends with a look to the future, a time line of major events, a glossary, additional resources, and an index. If the Poverty and Child Labor editions are indicative of the entire series, the dirty truth is not hidden or sugar coated. How major, identifiable corporations like Nike still exploit children and how poverty affects people the same or differently around the world are explored in quick but effectual sound bites. The authors of this series do not shy away from terrible imagery and startling statistics, which makes the books powerful and memorable. As educators and librarians endeavor to make students more culturally and critically aware of the world around them—the positive and the negative—series like this one need to exist. Each book is quick to read and stocked with quotations and statistics that will assist in research as well as general interest in the showcased topics. Reviewer: Jennifer Miskec
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9–The chapter spreads in these volumes each pose an open-ended question. For example, in Hunger, topics range from “Can We Feed the World?” to “Can Charities Make a Real Difference?” The sharing of first-person perspectives makes these volumes good choices for classroom supplements, and their many color photographs will draw in browsers. However, the books’ hyperkinetic design, in which multiple typefaces and little white space lead to a cluttered look, mutes their impact. Except where the quotes come from previously published sources, they are unattributed beyond the names of the speakers, their ages, and their locations. Still, this series is a worthwhile resource, especially for students seeking a more immediate sense of current-event topics.