Blue Gold Share this with a friend
Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Bets, Top 10 Young Adult Fiction, Ontario Library Association Eric Hoffer Award Green Book Festival Award finalist Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize finalist Book of the Year Awards finalist, Foreword Reviews
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.
“… manages to cram an enormous amount of geo-political strife into her brisk and eventful novel without violating a YA novelist’s more fundamental requirement to entertain.”
—Quill & Quire, 01/14
“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
“… Stewart masterfully weaves all the threads together to form a common tale of resilience, courage, and hope.”
—Africa Access Review, 06/19/14
“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
“Apt to start conversations which are less than comfortable. Apt to raise consciousness, and awareness … Well worth reading …”
—Finding Wonderland, 04/04/14
“Fictional characters make an important story accessible.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 02/15/14
“… Fiona, Sylvie and Laiping embody stories that many readers of all ages will find compelling.”
—Buried in Print, 02/19/14
“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 in presenting the stories of the three girls … This book will appeal to people interested innworldwide social justice issues.”
—Resource Links, 04/14
“ … the worldwide influence of the Internet...is well done.”
—CM Reviews, 05/09/14
“Stewart has done an excellent job … will appeal to people interested in worldwide social justice issues.”
—Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 06/06/14
“… stories were believable, mature, accessible and compelling. The book raises awareness about topics ranging from mining, international trade ethics, corporate responsibility, new digital realities, workers’ rights, and more.The author deftly maneuvered difficult content while respecting young readers’ intelligence with realistic dialogue and cultural portrayals. Highly recommended …”
—Quebec Library Association Bulletin, 04/16
“I recommend this novel … to anyone who wants to understand how anonymous people in the Global South pay the price for our ability to enjoy technologies that we take for granted.”
—Africa Access, 06/23/14
“… a book that all teenagers should read.”
—Cougars Book Blog, 06/05/14
“Elizabeth Stewart writes as an advocate for human rights in Blue Gold.”
—The Pirate Tree, 06/26/14
“Congratulations to … author Elizabeth Stewart for tackling serious subjects like consumerism, child labour, child soldiers and cyber bullying in an entertaining, praiseworthy novel for young readers.”
“… 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, December 20, 2014
“… fast-paced, suspenseful story …”
—Times Union, 12/29/14
“… this book could lead to valuable and authentic learning …”
—Ms. J’s Book Reviews 4 School Libraries, 01/24/15