Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

A Good Trade

Fullerton, Alma (Author)
Patkau, Karen (Illustrator)
Pajama Press 2012. 32 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9780986949593 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2014

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Kato helps his family by fetching water from the borehole as soon as the sun comes up. It’s a long walk; Kato must leave the village, pass fields guarded by soldiers and return with two full jerry cans, one of which he balances on his head.

This is a very clever, realistic introduction to everyday life in a different culture. The strength in this story lies in the simple, strong language that describes Kato’s morning routine. Carefully selected details bring key differences home to children: “Kato fills his jerry cans with a day’s supply of water, splashing it on his dusty feet.”

The realistic illustrations of children and landscapes are rendered in strong silhouette, colour-block. Soldiers’ uniforms are almost invisible, while the geometric prints on the village girls’ dresses pop out. A child-amputee dances among the others—another glancing reference to the spectre of war.

Today a foreign aid truck has arrived in the village and the children are excited to receive new things. While finishing his chores in the garden, Kato finds a beautiful flower and presents it to the aid worker. The story’s message is clear: Kato also has something to give.

  •  Discuss the reality of Kato’s life. What do we know about his country? Was it a fair trade?
  •  

    Create a Venn diagram: Compare your life and Kato’s. How similar or different are your lives?

  •  Make a list of everything you do in a day that needs water. Estimate how many jerry cans you would need to fill to have enough water. Where could you cut down on how much water you use during the day?
  •  Discuss the chores you have to do in your family. Compare with Kato’s chores in the book.
  •  

    Create a Venn diagram: Compare your life and Kato’s. How similar or different are your lives?

  •  Discuss: How do you use water? Can you think of any situations where you would need to get water?
  •  Write a list of everything you do with water, and estimate how many jerry cans you would need to fill to have enough water. Where could you cut down in order to use less water?
  •  

    There are many help organizations in our communities. Research and identify the help services in your community. What can you do to help these organizations help others in need? (Food banks, thrift stores, back-to-school organizations, breakfast services, etc.)

  •  Identify situations in which a family might need to use these services.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship