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MIGRANT by Maxine Trottier


by Maxine Trottier & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-88899-975-7
Publisher: Groundwood

Trottier frames the outlook of a child in a family of migrant workers within a series of metaphors and similes. Anna sees herself as part of a flock that travels its seasonal round from Mexico to Canada like migratory geese, settles temporarily in old farmhouses like jackrabbits in other animals’ abandoned burrows and works in the fields like bees. She shares her bed with other girls like a litter of kittens and compares the voices of local residents speaking in unfamiliar languages to “a thousand crickets all singing a different song.” Arsenault’s mixed-media images of doll-like figures in overalls and long print dresses, hats and headscarves effectively capture both Anna’s sense of isolation and the close family ties that keep her immediate family and larger community together. Anna’s background is unusual—she belongs to a group of Low German–speaking Mennonite farmers who emigrated to Mexico in the early 20th century but kept their Canadian citizenship and still travel northward each summer—but her sense of herself as a rootless outsider is broadly applicable to other, perhaps all, migrant groups. The designer merits a rap on the knuckles for hiding part of the author’s explanatory afterword beneath a jacket flap, but on the whole is a moving, inventive and thoughtful look at a way of life many people share. (Picture book. 6-8)