Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Migrant

Trottier, Maxine (Author)
Arsenault, Isabelle (Illustrator)
Groundwood Books 2011. 36 pages
First published: 2011
ISBN: 9780888999757 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language

Awards

Governor General’s Literary Award – Finalist – 2011
USBBY Outstanding International Books List – 2012

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:

Anna is a little girl whose parents are migrant workers from Mexico, and are part of a group of Mennonites who speak Low German. They originally settled in Canada but left for Mexico in the 1920s. Every spring, her family returns to Canada to work on farms that need extra hands.

The story, told from the point of view of a child, uses poetic language (similes and metaphors) to describe Anna’s experience. She feels like “a flock of geese beating its way there and back again,” or like a jackrabbit that makes its home in abandoned burrows every time her family sets up in an empty farmhouse for the summer. Metaphorically speaking, she also sees her family as bees and herself as a kitten, at night under the blankets with her feline sisters. Finally, she imagines herself as a tree, growing strong roots and staying put: “but fall is here, and the geese are flying away. And with them goes Anna, like a monarch, like a robin, like a feather in the wind.”

Whimsical mixed-media illustrations in watercolour, gouache, crayons and collage are gorgeous in their artistry and detail. Muted colours with flashes of intense reds and blues flesh out an imaginative child’s-eye point of view. Anna is seen riding on the back of a cricket or tiny among flowers. A more domestic scene show her mother in a dark blue dress at the sink, hunched over dishes, while an enormous jack rabbit leaps off the page and the ghosts of workers past loom in cupboards.

Back matter details the history of Mennonite migrant workers.

  •  

    Discuss the meaning of the word migrant. What related words can you think of?

  •  As you read, discuss the ways that Anna’s life is the same or different from yours. What are some of the disadvantages she might have as the child of migrant workers?
  •  

    Why does Anna compare herself to different animals throughout the story? List the feelings associated with these animals.

  •  Read the epilogue. Discuss the situation of migrant workers in Canada. Explore some teacher-selected resources to explore the issue more and learn about ways to bring awareness to the injustices suffered by this population.
  •  

    Discuss the meaning of the word migrant. What related words can you think of? Draw a mind map of these words.

  •  

    As you read, discuss the ways that Anna’s life is the same or different from yours. What are some of the disadvantages she might have as a child of migrant workers?

  •  

    Anna compares herself to different animals to describe various situations. List how the author uses comparisons. Think of ways you are like an animal. Use some of the author’s comparative-sentence structures to write about yourself.

  •  

    Listen to the epilogue read aloud. How do you benefit from the work these migrants do? What could be done to help them live better lives?

  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship