Listen To Us: The World's Working Children

Hazel McCallion Senior Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

By Christina Khoury & Keithan Bates (Grade 8)

After completing this book by Jane Springer, we felt shocked but well informed. There are numerous facts that are presented in a simple fashion and are easy to read and grasp. But despite the excellent facts, the stories and real life experiences are rather inappropriate for younger readers. We feel that this book should be used as a source of information for children no younger than grade six. Even though younger children should be informed about their society and child exploitation, they are not emotionally capable to handle such explicit details about child sex workers.

The stories about children in the normal work force are appropriate as they inform children about the severe labour conditions that other children suffer. However, younger readers do not need to be greatly informed about sex slaves and child pornography. They need to be aware of such issues that surround them but they aren't mature enough to fully understand the consequences of pornography and prostitution from a book. It would be best if their parents/guardians or adults they trust make them aware of this.

For readers in grade six and above, this book is excellent. It informs the reader in a very accurate manner. It gives you facts about the different types of child exploitation and where they're found. It gives case studies that help you relate more to the people telling their sad stories. When you read opinions and feelings of other people, you understand more about what's really going on and how unfair child exploitation really is. It also helps to raise students' awareness of social justice issues. It explains the injustices of children who are forced to work in inhuman conditions with little pay, if any at all.

A teacher could use the information while discussing these topics with a class. The teacher could take statistics and case studies out of the book to share with the class. The book could be used at the beginning of a project or assignment for basic understanding on the subjects. After reading the book, the students might want to take action -- inform the public, raise money for funds that deal with child exploitation or write letters to major corporations asking for support.

A teacher could use this book to inform classes under grade six, however, they shouldn't talk too much about child sex slaves. The teacher could discuss child prostitution, but in a manner more appropriate for their age group. Overall, this book is a very good source of information and definitely appropriate for our age group and everyone in our school!

"Listen To Us:The World's Working Children"
By Jane Springer
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published by Groundwood Books
ISBN: 0888992912

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