Books by Lewis Hine

KIDS AT WORK by Russell Freedman
Released: Aug. 15, 1994

Another fine photo-essay by the author of Lincoln (1987, Newbery Award) Hine (1874-1940) took up photography while teaching at NYC's Ethical Culture School and was soon photographing immigrants at Ellis Island as a teaching tool. He followed his subjects into their city tenements and photographed their children, often hard at work in sweatshop conditions. He's especially remembered as an investigative reporter (1908-18) for the National Child Labor Committee, touring the US to record children as young as three years old working, for long hours and often under very dangerous conditions, in factories, mines, and fields. Freedman offers the salient facts of Hine's life but focuses, with characteristic thoughtfulness, on this phase of his work and the message it so powerfully conveyed, beautifully summed up in the NCLC's 1913 "Declaration of Dependence" on behalf of children, which proclaimed children's right "to play and to dream," as well as to get "normal sleep" and an education, and called for "the abolition of child labor." But as Freedman points out, legislation—thwarted until the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938—was ultimately the result of economic pressure (adults' need for jobs) rather than humanitarian motives. Sixty-one of Hine's poignantly telling, beautifully composed b&w photos are an integral part of the story. An excellent complement to Cheap Raw Material (p. 560); like Meltzer, Freedman concludes by emphasizing that child labor is a continuing problem. (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >