From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-In her introduction, Roberts-Davis assails the exploitation of child labor in countries such as Nepal, India, and Pakistan, discussing the work of the "Rugmark" organization. Supported by UNICEF, its workers inspect carpet factories and allow them to put the Rugmark label on carpets "when they agree to follow strict labor standards." In 2001, Roberts-Davis traveled to Nepal to meet children who had been working in the carpet industry. This book is her compilation of essays, drawings, and poems by children whom she met there. Their stories are complex, often sad, and show how destitute situations lead to desperate measures. At the same time, the narratives are hopeful and inspiring because these children got out of the factories and were able to go to school. Black-and-white photos of the children as well as some of their artwork appear throughout. The author achieves a balance of trying to convey the severity of poverty in Nepal, while noting the need for change and for world action. The last page contains the Web sites of organizations that work against the exploitation of child labor. We Need to Go to School is a good treatise to inspire or encourage political activism in children.
Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-10. Like Jane Springer's Listen to Us! The World's Working Children
(1997), this is a moving account of child labor today. Twenty former child carpetweavers in Nepal talk about their lives: the harsh poverty that drove their families to send them to work; the virtual slave labor in the factories, where girls and boys work up to 18 hours a day; and the hope they feel after being freed from their jobs and given the chance to go to school. The children's stories, poems, and oral accounts are edited and translated, and the voices behind them tend to sound the same. The facts, however, are individual and heartbreaking, and so are the photographs. Roberts-Davis frames the stories with background on Nepal and the Rugmark organization, which works to eliminate exploitative child labor. That Roberts-Davis was only 16 when she went to Nepal's Rugmark centers in 1999 will inspire student activists, who can use the excellent annotated resources to get involved. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved