Coltan, or “blue gold,” is a rare mineral used in making cell phones and computers. Across continents, the lives of three teen girls are affected by the “blue gold” trade.
Sylvie’s family had to flee the Democratic Republic of the Congo after her father was killed by a rogue militia gang in the conflict for control of coltan. The refugee camp where she now lives is deplorable, and Sylvie yearns for a way out—to save not only herself, but her remaining family.
Laiping labors in a Chinese factory, soldering components for cell phones. She had left her small village to make her fortune, but the factory conditions are crushing, and the constant pressure to send money home adds to her misery. Yet when Laiping tries to improve her situation, she sees what happens to those who dare question the electronics company’s policies.
Fiona is a North American girl who, in one thoughtless moment, takes a picture on her cell phone she comes to regret. In the aftermath, she learns not only about trust and being true to oneself, but the importance of fighting for what is right.
All three teens are unexpectedly linked by these events.
Elizabeth Stewart conducted extensive research to authentically capture the experiences of all three girls. The result is an intense and powerful story about their struggles to create better lives for themselves in the face of the world’s increasing appetite for coltan.
- Winner, Eric Hoffer Award 2014
- Short-listed, Green Book Festival Award 2014
- Joint winner, Best Bets, Top 10, Ontario Library Association 2014
- Short-listed, Book of the Year Awards, Foreword Reviews 2014
- Short-listed, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize 2014
- Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2014
“Stewart masterfully weaves all the threads together to form a common tale of resilience, courage, and hope . . . a story that is often uncomfortable, that is sure to have readers talking about issues of importance, and that needs to be told. ”- Canadian Children’s Book News, 06/14
“Fast-paced, suspenseful story. ”- Times Union, 12/29/14
“Fiona, Sylvie and Laiping embody stories that many readers of all ages will find compelling. ”- Buried in Print, 02/19/14
“Apt to start conversations which are less than comfortable. Apt to raise consciousness, and awareness . . . Well worth reading. ”- Finding Wonderland, 04/04/14
“A great fast paced read with a powerful message. Young readers will be engaged and enlightened . . . Well written characters and vivid, sometimes disturbing incidents, will have readers paying attention and appreciating the life they live. ”- Kristi’s Book Nook, 12/20/14
“Fictional characters make an important story accessible. ”- Kirkus Reviews, 02/15/14
“The worldwide influence of the Internet . . . is well done. ”- CM Reviews, 05/09/14
“A book that all teenagers should read. ”- Cougars Book Blog, 06/05/14
“Stewart masterfully weaves all the threads together to form a common tale of resilience, courage, and hope. ”- Africa Access Review, 06/19/14
“Could lead to valuable and authentic learning. ”- Ms. J’s Book Reviews 4 School Libraries, 01/24/15
“Stewart has crafted a timely, geo-political drama . . . the story makes every reader want to google the subject matter. ”- BC Booklook, 03/04/14
“Stewart has done an excellent job . . . will appeal to people interested in worldwide social justice issues. ”- Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 06/06/14
“Stewart has done an excellent job in presenting the stories of the three girls . . . This book will appeal to people interested innworldwide social justice issues. ”- Resource Links, 04/14
“Artfully blending psychological insights with global politics and business ethics, Stewart demonstrates the interconnectedness of the global economy with elegant prose and page-turning cliffhangers. ”- National Reading Campaign, Readerly, 03/13/14