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Migrant

by Maxine Trottier; Isabelle Arsenault, illus.

From prolific Newfoundland author Maxine Trottier comes a moving story about some of the people who contribute to our country’s mosaic. In sophisticated, poetic language, Trottier describes the plight of young Anna, a girl whose family migrates from Mexico to Canada and back again every year to work.

For children who have spent their entire lives in Canada, Migrant shows what it’s like to be part of a poor family in a new country where the locals speak a language you barely understand. “What would it be like to be a tree with roots sunk deeply into the earth – to watch the seasons passing around you the same way the wind passes through the branches?” wonders Anna, who is constantly moving with the seasons.

The colourful pencil illustrations by Quebec artist Isabelle Arsenault are simultaneously childlike and intricate, and offer a glimpse of the world from Anna’s perspective: she is a jackrabbit living in abandoned burrows, a kitten sharing a bed with her sisters, and a goose flying north in the spring and south every fall. The words and images could stand alone as feats of artistic excellence. Together, they form a package that should become a staple for kids learning about Canada’s diverse population.

For those interested in more background on migrant workers, a straightforward afterword by Trottier offers just that. However, the heart of the book is the depiction of one young girl’s feelings, and it will be cherished as much by adults as the young children for whom it was written.