today’s children storybook summary is
By Maxine Trottier
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
The takeaway : This is a very sweet story about a migrant family of Mennonites from Mexico and their live on the road, told through the eyes of a young girl.
Anna and her family are migrants. Like the birds that fly north in the spring, and south in the summer. They leave their farms in small community of Mennonites, in Mexico to go up north in the United States and Canada, where they work over the summer, in the fields.
Anna wonders how it would be to stay in one place, where you can have your own bed, and maybe a bike.
When they arrive at their destination, they are given an empty farmhouse to live in. Her mother cleans the rooms, trying to make a temporary home for their family. Sometimes Ann feels like a rabbit in a hole, sometimes like a bee.
Her parents are working in the fields, picking tomatoes. Anna is to young to work, but all her brothers and sister are picking tomatoes. At night, all the sisters share one big bed, curled together keeping warm and safe. Anna feels like sisters are the like kittens and brothers are like puppies.
They shop for food at a local grocery store. There, Anna has a chance to see different people and hear other languages. Some are sweet, like the German she and her people speak, others are spices or slow, and it feels “as though a thousand crickets are all singing a different song. She even picks up some words. Anna is just an acute observer of the world. Most she wants to be like a tree with very deep roots, that is not going anywhere, just watching the seasons passing by.
But in the fall, she packs her bags and takes the road down south, with her family, once more.
Characters: Anna, the younger daughter of a migrant Mennonite family from Mexico
Isabelle Arsenault, the illustrator of this book, is an award willing artist. She uses soft color with accents to make her pictures come alive. The art is realistic, clean and clear. Though at times she imagines the character in unrealistic circumstances, she sticks to the everyday representation of people and places.
Theme: migrants, migration, having a home
Recommended Age: 4 to 7
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Things to Learn
Who are the Mennonites?
At the end of this book there is a page where the author had put few information about the community of Mennonites leaving in Mexico, about their origin, status, and their way of life. Basically, they are German migrants from Canada that moved to Mexico in the 1920s, to farm and find religious freedom. They return to work in Canada and United States as seasonal worker.
Medal/Awards: New Your Times Best Illustrated Children Book Award
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