A photo essay with supplementary illustrations introduces readers to eight children who live on the streets in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Guatemala.
Chippo, a 9-year-old from Zimbabwe, runs away from a house where she is enslaved. Miguel in Mozambique, age 13, spends some time on the city streets and some in a town with his older brother. A Guatemalan street family’s story is more hopeful. Their mother has found a way to earn money and has rented an apartment. In his introduction, the author delineates among these examples and others: children who live on their own on the streets, children who work on the streets (yet may spend some time with their families) and children who are part of street families. Robinson has photographed young people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Guatemala with the help of local organizations. Their websites are included opposite the title page, but there is no bibliography or other notes, save for a world map and chart with 2004-2008 figures supplied by UNICEF. Amateurish sketches illustrate the first-person texts, but they detract from the book’s power rather than enhance the reality. The speech balloons that introduce each child are distracting. This important topic would better be explored in greater detail in a format more appropriate for older readers and with greater geographical representation.
Despite its limitations, this well-meaning book may help to inculcate social awareness in the children who read it. (Nonfiction. 9-12)