Documentary time: A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table. Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush. 84 minutes. Motto Pictures/Participant Media. 2012, $9.90 (DVD). ASIN: B00B119H1A

TL;DR: Do I recommend this movie? Yes

Genre: Documentary (film)

Film Summary:

This documentary focuses on the hunger crisis in America. Fifty million American people have inadequate access to food and go hungry. By following the stories of a doctor fighting the crisis, mothers trying to feed their children, teachers trying to help their students, and other individuals, the creators of this documentary show viewers the very real human faces of this issue.

Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

A Place at the Table gives a very detailed look into the hunger crisis in America. While the topic and information can get very complex, the film always feels like something a tween could absorb and understand. By alternating speakers and showing different families who struggle with hunger, the filmmakers do a great job of showing that this issue is not isolated to one part of the country or age bracket. Furthermore, the filmmakers follow one mother in particular as she struggles with making too much to qualify for food stamps, then being able to qualify but having no job, and finally (after a year-long search) getting hired into a full-time position only to lose her food stamp qualification and have less food than ever for her family. It’s an extremely sad and thought-provoking film, and I agree with Caroline Knorr of Common Sense Media in that this film will help inspire kids to change the world.

Curriculum Ties/Library Use:

I found this documentary while looking for good documentaries for tweens. Caroline Knorr of Common Sense Media includes this film in a list of twelve documentaries that will inspire children to change the world. I would use this documentary as a part of a library unit (ideally in collaboration with a class at school) on hunger in the United States. In our collection, we also have Eric Schlosser’s Chew On This, so if a unit with a class were not doable, I would perhaps try to do a book club event utilizing Schlosser’s book and this documentary. (Idea from myself)

Grade Level: YA according to Titlewave; I would say 5-8.

Awards and Starred Reviews:



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