From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up–Rockliff outlines how mass consumerism is harming our planet, and specifically how teens can use their purchasing power to enact change. She cites examples of products that teens use frequently (high-tech electronics, clothing, junk food, etc.) and explains how their production often harms the people who make them, the environment, and, potentially, the end consumer. She explains that a chocolate bar was most likely made with cacao beans harvested by exploited workers, and that a cell phone contains enough heavy metals to seriously harm our groundwater. She covers (un)fair labor practices, environmental pillaging, factory farming, excessive marketing, local vs. corporate stores, and the pervasive throwaway mentality that drives the whole cycle. The author's in-your-face approach makes her points while still engaging readers–she is never didactic or overbearing. She encourages teens to make a difference in their world by making small changes to things they do already–buying fair-trade chocolate or saving up for an organic cotton T-shirt. The pop-art illustrations are clever and illustrative of many points. The impressive bibliography provides lists of documentaries, websites, books, articles, and other sources to help teens find out how their favorite products came to be (and came to be so cheap). Learning more about how these products are made just might make some teens think twice about their buying habits.Lisa Crandall, formerly at Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI
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This sturdy paperback points out plenty of practical ways for kids to impact their world by making different choices about what food to eat, what clothes to wear, how often to replace a cell phone, and more. Chapter by chapter, this gives specifics on topics such as bottled water, sweatshops, and toxic chemicals leaching from discarded electronic equipment into landfills; offers suggestions on how to make a difference; and follows up with titles of related books and films. Rockliff also discusses the limitations of recycling and warns about corporate “greenwashing.” Nicely designed, the book has colorful graphic elements on many pages, including photographs and eye-catching digital images incorporating photos. The extensive back matter includes a lengthy list of sources as well as lists of recommended books, Internet sites, and films. A clearly written guide for readers who want to translate social and environmental awareness into action. Grades 6-9. --Carolyn Phelan