Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

Gaff / by Shan Correa

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Title: Gaff
Author: Shan Correa
Publisher: Peachtree
ISBN: 978-1561455263
Year: 2010

Concepts:  job market, family businesses, budget constraints, economics of disability, business ethics 

Review: Seventh-grader Paul Silva could sleep through two hundred roosters all crowing at the same time early in the morning. He owed this rare feat to living on a rooster farm, a livelihood his dad had started after a serious accident at the lumberyard almost two years ago that left him disabled. Paul felt proud that his father raised the best birds on the island, some of them selling for thousands of dollars each, and that their family could live in a comfortable farm house with a beautiful view.

Although Paul knew that the buyers used the roosters for illegal cockfights, he had little understanding of the cruelty that the birds actually endured until his best friend's older brother forced them to watch a cockfight. Paul felt so sickened by the suffering he witnessed that he vowed to help his father find a different job. Unfortunately, a weak job market combined with his father's limited skills meant that the only viable alternative was a low-pay job that would necessitate moving to a smaller place. Just how much were Paul and his family willing to give up in order to stop raising gamecocks?

This novel will give readers pause for thought about the ethics of cockfighting and why this practice continues. Cleverly wrapped into the plot is a set of important economics lessons related to job search, family businesses, the economics of disability, and budget constraints. The book's unique topic and engaging story make it a sure entry for most middle grade and young adult must-read lists.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children


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