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This book describes the difficult life of migrant workers in a manner that fosters empathy and understanding in young children. A Mennonite girl and her family leave their home in Mexico heading north to work on farms in Canada. As they travel, Anna compares herself to the migrant geese and wistfully dreams about what it would be like to stay in one place. Life as a migrant is difficult for Anna. She has to live in a shack, doesn't understand the language and feels embarassed when people stare. Anna wishes she could be like a tree, watching the seasons and migrants fly by. However, it is not to be and soon Anna is once again on the move, along with the geese, butterflies and birds.
This book could be used as the basis for a class discussion about diversity. Students who may be from other countries could explain how it felt to move to Canada. Students could also write about their feelings as if they were in another country where the languages and customs are very different from their own.
This story has an important social studies component where students can learn more about seasonal labourers and how they contribute to the economy of Canada. Students could research the history of seasonal labour in this country and identify which economic sectors are highly dependent on these workers.
Seasonal labourers are often not subject to the same rights as unionized workers. Students could learn more about the problems facing seasonal workers such as inadequate health care and poor living conditions. The class could work on a project to raise awareness about the plight of these labourers.
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