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Food: The New Gold

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lisa Hazlett
The sobering statement that one billion of the world’s population is undernourished, with millions more starving, although more than enough food is produced each year to feed everyone, is the focus of this nonfiction book for the middle grades. Using non-biased language and balanced information, this is filled with colorful maps, interesting photos, and personal commentaries, all used to succinctly explain the causes of food shortages and detail its production around the world. Topics are explained using their most essential information, without confusing or meandering subtopics or other less germane subjects. Asserting the main cause of hunger is poverty, chapters discuss food production challenges, including corporate factory farms replacing family ones; natural resource depletion; poor animal and worker treatment (a sobering section, though told rather than shown); pollution and pesticides; climate/weather factors; and genetic engineering. Also discussed are the politics surrounding food, revealing that finances are decisive and divisive. This is specifically demonstrated through school lunch systems, and in cases where food is used as a weapon, especially in poorer countries. The slim volume concludes with future food sources, such as pills and insects, reminiscent of Soylent Green, for those old enough to remember the movie. An impressive reference section includes an extensive glossary and source notes, bibliography, books, films, Web sites, and an index. While this book may not be immediately of interest to students, it is ideal for school reports or other assignments on this topic, and middle school readers will find themselves engrossed once they begin reading this honest and interesting text. Ages 11 to 15.
Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
This book raises many questions about the role of food in the world today. The cover picture of a hand caked with dirt holding some golden grains indicates that food production takes hard work. The reader's attention is immediately drawn to a contrast between the opening paragraph's description of a sumptuous meal served to delegates discussing world hunger and the subject of the facing photo, which shows a thin, big-eyed boy holding an empty plate. The juxtaposition raises questions about what rights are implied by the human need for food and water. Gay explores the issues of food production and distribution in a modern world using new technology such as factory farming and genetic modification. Each chapter is well-organized and concise, and the concepts are clearly explained. Although Gay includes arguments "for" and "against" in each chapter, the chapter titles reveal a bias (e.g., "Factory Farming, Hazardous to your Health," "Frankenfoods"). Some of the graphics, such as the world hunger map, are fascinating. As an introduction to contemporary food issues for teens, this book has much to offer and could spark class debate. However, any use of it in a classroom should include a short discussion of author's point-of-view. Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg
Kirkus Reviews
An intelligent examination of food that probes how it is produced, procured and delivered to consumers--or not. While many Americans and citizens of other wealthy nations take food for granted because of its abundance and availability in seemingly endless variety year-round, millions elsewhere, even in the United States, fare terribly. Gay explores the topic of food as a commodity in a way young readers have perhaps never encountered. Writing with skill, clarity and a finely tuned sense of fairness on all sides of issues, she conveys what a complicated business getting food to the table is. The word business is not to be underestimated, as today's food culture involves multinational corporations in addition to governments and politics, science and technology, and the environment and global warming. Excellent color photographs and illuminating, easy-to-understand charts and diagrams enhance readers' comprehension. Some of this may be difficult to digest: Descriptions of the treatment of food animals before and after slaughter and the handling of industrial waste might turn some stomachs; photos of starving youngsters are heart-wrenching. Yet the outlook isn't completely dire. Gay points to optimistic news, such as the sustainable-agriculture movement, for example. Documentation is sound, though the bibliography offers few child-friendly titles--which perhaps speaks to this book's singularity. A sobering, thought-provoking discussion that provides, yes, much food for thought. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761346074
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 809,658
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1150L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Going Hungry 4

Chapter 2 Factory Farming 16

Chapter 3 Industrial Farming: Hazardous to Your Health? 14

Chapter 4 Climate Crisis 38

Chapter 5 Franken Foods 48

Chapter 6 Protecting the Foods We Eat 58

Chapter 7 Food Meets Politics 66

Epilogue: Feeding the Future 76

Glossary 84

Source Notes 87

Selected Bibliography 90

Further Information 92

Index 95

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