Dec 26, 2011
Migrant by Maxine Trottier
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Published by Groundwood Books
Anna is part of a migrant family that every springs leaves their home in Mexico and travels north harvesting fruits and vegetables. She is a Mennonite, a group of Low German-speaking migrants who moved from Canada to Mexico in the 1920's. She wonders what it would be like to be able to stay in one place, "to have your own bed, to ride your own bicycle [...] Now that would be something." "What would it be like to be a tree with roots sunk deeply into the earth"
On her way north Anna feels like a bird, "her family is a flock of geese beating its way there and back again." She's like a jack rabbit, staying in houses that don't belong to her family, "abandoned burrows." Her family works the fields like bees, "dip and rise over the vegetables, that is when all of them are bees." She's a kitten at night curled up with her sisters, her brothers are puppies growling in their sleep. She knows they stare at her and her family as they walk through town, sticking out and not speaking the language. And when the seasons change again, and fall arrives Anna leaves again "like a monarch, like a robin, like a feather in the wind."
Migrant is a beautifully written book that, through similes and metaphors, captures the feelings and apprehensions of a child in a migrant family. The language is lyrical, gorgeous, and the illustrations are enchanting, dreamlike. Wonderful book to use in the classroom for examples of figurative language and in social studies to discuss migrant groups. Gorgeous!