A Day’s Work Introduces Themes of Immigration and Learning from Elders

Picture Book A Day's Work Introduces Themes of Immigration and Learning from Elders

A Day’s Work, by Eve Bunting, is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book relevant to middle grade kids that would make a great class introduction to either of the themes addressed in the story — immigration  or learning from elders.  One use might be to introduce one of the themes before reading a class novel with a similar theme.  Another use might be to pair it with an informational text.

The story is about a young boy whose grandfather has just  arrived in the US and speaks only Spanish.  Francisco, the boy, goes with his grandfather to a spot where immigrants find day labor to translate for him.  Francisco speaks up and gets his grandfather a day’s work as a gardener, but in doing so, he tells a lie about his grandfather’s qualifications for the job and causes a big problem.  If you have students who like to “exaggerate,” they will definitely be able to relate! Thanks to a good example set by Francisco’s grandfather, it all works out fine, and the grandfather is offered more work in the future.  Francisco learns a little about honesty and the importance of a good work ethic, along with a new respect for his grandfather.

There are three interesting characters in this short story – Francisco, his abuelo (grandfather), and Ben, the van driver.  All three demonstrate positive traits that the kids could explore.

One interesting non-fiction source to pair with A Day’s Work  would be this article on the Scholastic website, “Meet Young Immigrants.”  It features stories of five real kids who immigrated to the United states from  the Ukraine, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Mexico, and India.  And this one would be a great choice to pair with a world map!

Whatever you decide to use A Day’s Work for in your classroom, your kids are sure to enjoy the story and respond to its positive message.

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One response to “A Day’s Work Introduces Themes of Immigration and Learning from Elders”

  1. I need to find more great picture books to use with my college students. Thanks for giving me another idea!