Follow Your Stuff

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Nonfiction | 9-15
In our consumer society, it can be a challenge to get a handle on the true price of things we want to buy, and why sometimes, it’s better to pay a little more. That’s so true in my small town where local businesses can struggle to keep prices competitive against cities’ big box stores and online distributors. To help children grasp these concepts, the Canadian creators of Follow Your Money have turned their attention to the production and distribution of five things of interest to kids: a t-shirt with a band logo, a cellphone, eyeglasses, a medical puffer, and the book itself (including the e-edition). Using colourful illustrations, factboxes, topical questions, charts and accessible text, they take the reader through the entire production process.
The book begins with a brief overview of how the global economy works, followed by a chapter on each of the items covered. For the t-shirt, readers learn about the farmer who grew the cotton and all the expenses she bears, along with the money earned (38 cents) for the amount of cotton needed for the t-shirt. We then follow the cost of the t-shirt through every step until it finally lands in the buyer’s hands. Through this the authors explain concepts like relative wages, markup, royalties. They also address topics like fair trade, copyright, and sweatshops, and ask readers to decide if they would be ready to pay a bit more to give workers a fair shake for their labour. I like this approach – giving young readers a chance to consider ethics as part of their buying process. The layout gives readers lots of places to dip in and enter the text, and Hlinka’s illustrations show a diverse cast of consumers and workers along the way. The book stops once the item is in the consumer’s hands – perhaps a future title could examine the problems that result from overconsumption. It’s a slim book at about 100 pages, and includes a two-page index, and two pages of references as well as suggestions for further reading online. My thanks to Annick Press for the advance reading copy provided digitally through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this title: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41005590
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A great educational read that helps kids understand the processes involved in their stuff.  In an era where we can have anything we want on our doorstep within a couple of days, this information is more important than ever.   It's written in a way that is easy to understand and helps kids to think about their values and priorities in what items come into their lives.
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One might not think that the global economy could easily be explained for a young audience but Sylvester and Hlinka put in a solid effort. Through three concrete examples they break down the minutiae of the cost of a product: raw materials, transport, marketing, and profit. Not only do they discuss the money, though. They devote a fair amount of space to ethics. Sure some products are cheaper but that means that someone in the chain is taking less money and that someone is usually low level workers. That or the product is being produced in a more ecologically destructive way. Through the text we're being asked to be more mindful consumers. And that's always a good thing.
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Informative text. Sylvester shares the back story on how/where/who creates various items. He takes the reader through the entire process in an easy to follow manner. The economic aspect is included so readers understand why items cost what they do. He also presents challenging questions to consider what type of consumer they will be. 
He begins and ends with information on the global economy in part one. Part two is short and focused on the reader. Information for further research is provided at the end of the book.
Written in a style to appeal to middle grade readers - short snippets of data along with longer paragraphs of information.
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Very informative and educational in a fun and fast paced way! I will be passing this on for years to come! I'm a sucker when it comes to facts! Thank you Netgalley for the free earc in exchange for an honest review.
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Lots of great information, but it was overwhelming. I think most elementary kdis would be lost and confused as they read through it. It is probably a better fit for older ages.
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This was a good book for maybe 7 or 8th and up. It asks you to think about how to make things or without drawing any conclusions it would like for you to deal with even harder issues such as human rights.
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Follow Your Stuff is an informative book on not just where your stuff comes from but an overlook of the entire manufacturing and distribution process. The book looks at some specific items like your favorite tee shirt, an asthma inhaler, publishing a book, your cell phone, and a pair of prescription glasses. Sylvester and Hlinka walk you through the complete process and cost breakdown of each item.
It was super interesting for me to read about where my stuff comes from, giving me a better understanding and value to my things. 
Thank you to Annick Press and NetGalley for this advanced copy, my opinions are my own.
LanaLCole@yahoo.com
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Nice start. It brings the Cargo Cults to mind! I like books that take one from raw materials to finish products. Kids and YAs will be introduced to the global economy, as many products take many paths before appear on our shelves and racks. Very informative must read for curious minds.
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