RUSSELL FREEDMAN received the Newbery Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography. He is also the recipient of three Newbery Honors, a National Humanities Medal, the Sibert Medal, the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was selected to give the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Mr. Freedman lives in New York City and travels widely to research his books.
A schoolteacher turned investigative reporter, Lewis Hine (1874-1940) traveled the United States from 1908 to 1918, photographing some of the millions of underprivileged children who labored as a regular part of the work force. He emerged with an array of shocking pictures and stories--of a five-year-old shrimp picker in Mississippi; a four-year-old oyster shucker in Louisiana; boys and girls working in often dangerous conditions and for pitiful wages in mills, mines, sweatshops, fields and factories in every corner of the land. Exhausted, ragged, often filthy, their faces peek out from the 61 photos reproduced here, their testimony certain to move the reader. As always, Freedman ( Eleanor Roosevelt ) does an outstanding job of integrating historical photographs with meticulously researched and highly readable prose, this time combining biographical information about Hine with a history of the campaign to end child labor in America. The result is thoroughly absorbing, and even those who normally shy away from nonfiction will find themselves caught up in this seamless account. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
In 1908 Lewis Hine left his teaching position for a full-time job as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, then conducting a major campaign against the exploitation of children. Hine's photographs serve as a visual accompaniment to Freedman's narrative, which not only documents the abuses of the times but also traces the chronology of Hine's development as a crusader. Horn Book
Readers will not only come to appreciate the impact of his groundbreaking work, but will also learn how one man dedicated and developed his skill and talents to bring about social reform. School Library Journal, Starred
Gr 5 Up-Using the photographer's work throughout, Freedman provides a documentary account of child labor in America during the early 1900s and the role Lewis Hine played in the crusade against it. He offers a look at the man behind the camera, his involvement with the National Child Labor Committee, and the dangers he faced trying to document unjust labor conditions. Solemn-faced children, some as young as three years old, are shown tending looms in cotton mills or coated with coal dust in the arresting photos that accompany the explanations of the economics and industries of the time. Both Freedman's words and quotes from Hine add impact to the photos, explaining to contemporary children the risky or fatiguing tasks depicted. Details such as Hine's way of determining children's height by measuring them against his own coat buttons add further depth and a personal touch to the already eloquent statements made by his thoughtfully composed black-and-white portraits. Also included are some of the photographer's other projects throughout his career. Readers will not only come to appreciate the impact of his groundbreaking work, but will also learn how one man dedicated and developed his skill and talents to bring about social reform.-Susan Knorr, Milwaukee Public Library, WI