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Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home New Picture Books in 2009 (First Word Q-Z) Waiting for the Owl's Call / by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Pascal Milelli

Waiting for the Owl's Call / by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Pascal Milelli

 

Title:  Waiting for the Owl's Call 
Author: Gloria Whelan
Illustrator:  Pascal Milelli
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
ISBN: 978-1-58536-418-3
Year: 2009

Concepts: human resources, economics of gender, child labor, economic development

Review: Zulviya, a young Turkoman child living in Afghanistan, works all day long with her sister and cousin at the loom, weaving rugs by hand. They begin early in the morning, shortly after the muezzin's call to prayer, and do not finish until dusk when they hear the call of the owl. The work, which involves tying thousands of knots in a single day, is tedious and hard; it causes Zulviya's back to ache and her fingers to bleed. To keep her mind occupied, Zulviya imagines creating her own pattern full of the colors and symbols of her homeland. She also allows for the sliver of hope of attending school.

This book uses poetic text and vibrant illustrations to communicate the very real problem of child labor in Asia's rug making industry. The afterword informs the reader of a nongovernmental organization named RugMark that inspects rug production sites, issues certification labels for rugs made without child labor, and helps to rehabilitate child workers and send them to school. Readers will gain a deeper appreciation of Afghanistan's culture and the importance of education in meeting the needs of its children. 

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

 

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