Thursday, September 13, 2012


Trottier, Maxine. 2011. Migrant. Berkeley, CA:
     Groundwood Books. Ill. by Isabelle Arsenault.
     ISBN 978-0-88899-975-7

Every spring Anna and her family travel from Mexico to Canada searching for work on farms.  Anna feels like a bird flying north for the spring, or a kitten curled up with her sisters, and wonders what it would feel like to be a tree with deep roots. 

Anna's story offers cultural markers which connect the plight of the migrant worker to stationary society. Use of imagery and metaphors conveys a child's perception of life and sense of longing for stability and continuity.  The author's comparison to of the life of a migrant child to animals and common plants brings the life of migrant farm workers into an understandable place which all can draw comparisons.  Language differences are addressed through the common experience of shopping for groceries and the sounds of raised voices are compared to a chorus of crickets chirping different songs.

Illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault help to depict cultural differences.  The traditional clothing of the Mennonites are starkly different from those of the stationary citizens of the town to which Anna and her family travel.  And the colors and patterns of the landscape and animals mimic the traditional and old fashioned quality of Mennonite quilts. 

The plight of the migrant farm worker is presented in a manner which allows others to correlate the experiences in a way that is meaningful to them on a personal level.  The presentation of feelings and questions throughout the text forces the reader to put themselves in the place of Anna and imagine the differences in lifestyle.

D. REVIEW EXCERPTSGovernor General's Award: Illustration, 2011, Short-listed, Migrant.
E. CONNECTIONSChildren can investigate the life of migrant farm workers through internet and government resources.

Science connection:  students can learn about migratory patterns of birds.

Art connection: Have students make a "flying geese" quilt

Look for these other books for young people about migrant farmworkers:
Atkin, S.B. (2000). Voices from the Fields : Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories.  ISBN 978-0316056205
Dorros, A. (1997). Radio Man. ISBN-13: 978-0064434829

Buirski, N. (1994). Earth Angels: Migrant Children in America. ISBN-13: 978-0876540732

Look for this other books about Mennonites:
Hiebert, C. (2003). Us Little People. ISBN 978-1550462722

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