My advanced-placement high-school seniors recently read and discussed George Bernard Shaw's play MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION, which explores British class structure, the roles open to turn-of-the-last-century women, and the morality of prostitution. Their own strands of thought were largely theoretical; however, after seeing BORN INTO BROTHELS last Friday evening and immediately buying the companion book, this Monday I was able to present some concrete images to my students of the horrors of slum-living and prostitution in Calcutta. The photos here are beautiful, heart-wrenching, intelligent, savvy, and fraught with layers of meaning. It is clear that the lives of these Calcutta youngsters are a far cry from the lives of suburban Americans. One of the functions of literature is the engendering of empathy for those whose experiences are far different from our own. While Shaw's play is insightful, these images from India had an immediate, powerful effect on kids raised more on television and video than on the written word. Ms. Briski is to be commended for her compassionate work and for trying to raise public awareness about the plight of millions of young people across the planet. One can only wish that even more could be done to ease the horrors of the lives of these impoverished youngsters and their families.