Another day, another teenage novel, one that was made all the more real by having watched Apple’s Broken Promises on Panorama for a unit I teach – The Responsible Marketer – which looked at people working in dangerous conditions in China and Africa to produce the goods that western society wants – now (and yes, I have an iPhone these days..).
Blue Gold tells the story from the perspective of three teenage girls – Fiona, who lives in the US, and is waiting for a new phone whilst she recovers from a sexting incident; Laiping who works in a huge factory in China producing components for phones; and Sylvie, who fled the Congo with her family over conflicts re coltan (the blue gold in the story) – an essential mineral for use in phones/computers. We see how their stories merge together at the end, as each is represented by their image shared via the internet.
Definitely a book that would encourage discussions, I think… and yes, I’ve kept this one!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.