Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor
By Russell Freedman, with photos by Lewis Hine
Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine – who himself died in poverty in 1940 – did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.
By his force of will, often by posing as a fire inspector, insurance salesman, or photographer interested only in the setting, not the workers, Hine made his way into coal mines and textile mills, farm fields and canning factories. He photographed the youngest of children doing the most tedious, physical, often incredibly dangerous work, from barefoot boys and girls clambering over looms in mind-numbing noise and heat (mill owners kept windows closed year-round because the humidity was helpful to the process) to nine- and ten-year-old "breaker boys" picking slate from coal and breathing black dust all day above ground, with survivors moving on to underground mining at the age of 12.
These blatant horrors are a thing of the past in many countries, but still exist in the world (did you ever wonder how Wal-Mart offers some prices so low?).
Especially recommended for children ages 8-12, grades 4, 5 and 6, but gripping for readers of any age.
Rated as one of the "Best Books of the Year" by School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly; American Library Association "Best Book for Young Adults" and "Notable Book for Children."104 pages paperback
"A social history, an art book, and a biography rolled into one, Freedman’s lucid text examines child labor in U.S. fields and factories at the start of the 20th century and describes Hine’s efforts at reform."
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL