Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Pablo Finds a Treasure

Poulin, Andrée (Author)
Malenfant, Isabelle (Illustrator)
Annick Press 2016. 32 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781554518678 (hardcover)
9781554518661 (paperback)
Original language: French
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Silver Birch Express Award Nominee – 2018

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:

Pablo and his sister Sofia live in extreme poverty. Their days consist of rummaging through “Treasure Mountain,” the local landfill, for items their mother might be able to sell. When Pablo finds a real treasure, a gold chain, they start to fantasize about the things they might buy: a book, candy, a new cooking pot for mama, chicken every night of the week. But the landfill bully, Filthy-Face, wants their treasures. Pablo hides the gold chain in his mouth until he gets home safely.

This book looks at poverty from a kid’s point of view. Their “treasure hunting” sounds like fun at first, but the story does not hide the hard truths, like the stench of the landfill and the gases coming off the garbage, which irritate Sofia’s throat: “Tears trace streaks in the dirt on her cheeks.” The text is blunt, to the point: “Pablo is hot and thirsty. The flies irritate him.” There are some sweet moments, such as when Sofia finds two carrots that are “a bit soft but not rotten” and they enjoy them side by side.

The illustrations are in charcoal, mostly black and white, with an occasional streak of faint colour. The black lines are approximate and abstract, adding to the bleakness of the scene and its permeating filth. As the story progresses, their faces become more and more obscured by dirt. The story is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. The final illustration shows Pablo smiling with a new book and Sofia eating candy outside their shanty.

  •  

    Discuss what Pablo’s treasure might be. How can a simple treasure change your day?

  •  

    Compare and contrast your daily life with that of these children.

  •  

    The two children prove to be independent and resourceful. In groups, discuss the life lessons you can learn from them.

  •  

    Millions of adults and children around the world scavenge in garbage to survive. On a safe, student-friendly website, research the lives of such children. Make a public service announcement to raise awareness and warn about the dangers of living this way.

  •  

    Discuss what Pablo’s treasure might be. How can a simple treasure change your day? What would a simple treasure be for you?

  •  

    Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast your daily life with that of these children.

  •  

    Discuss and create a character map to show how these children are independent and resourceful. How are you independent and resourceful?

  •  

    In light of this story, discuss wants and needs. Explore a child’s version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Discuss whether the children’s needs are being met. How about yours?

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Physical Education and Health