cover image Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

Russell Freedman. Clarion Books, $21 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-395-58703-4

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.)