A look at the life of migrant workers through a child's eyes
Emma Turner loves books and dreams of one day having the store-bought kind, but the Turners are migrant workers and money is tight. That means "no extras," so Emma must be content to make her own stories and books. Emma has a plan, though – she's going to save all the money she earns picking apples and put it in Mama's hard-times jar. Then there will surely be enough for extras. But when Mama tells Emma that this year she has to go to school instead of to work, it spoils everything. Now she will never own a store-bought book! But school turns out to have a wonderful surprise in store for Emma.
Based on Ethel Footman Smothers's childhood, the story is brought to life with lush acrylic paintings, giving us a touching portrait of a book-hungry child.
About the Author
Ethel Footman Smothers lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
John Holyfield lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Emma Turner, the daughter of poor migrant workers, longs to own a real book, and when she turns eight and must attend school for the first time, she is amazed to discover a whole library in her classroom.This was a good book. It will show readers that hard work will pay off in the end.
I enjoyed reading this story to my son. It is a good story to read during hard economics times. The story teaches children about saving for a rainy day.
The Hard-Times Jar, by Ethel Footman Smothers was published in August 2003. It is a story that is designated for young children age four to eight, yet it has the ability to bring smiles to anyoneâ¿¿s face. The story begins when Emma Turner, the daughter of a poor migrant working family, who do not have access to Emma's one true love which are books. Emma longs to own a real book, and when she turns eight and must attend school for the first time, she is amazed to discover a whole library in her classroom. The author's use of descriptive language does, however, allow the reader to connect to Emma's longing for books and provides the reader with an opportunity to appreciate what is so easily taken for granted. This book conveys a message of honesty and perseverance, and reminds me of â¿¿A chair for my mother,â¿ by Vera Williams, where the characters support each other to reach a goal as they do in Emmaâ¿¿s family. After reading this wonderful book that contains rich descriptive language with wonderful illustrations, I was able to transport myself into the Pennsylvania setting. The way Ethel Smothers pictures the crops allows the text to run nice and calm. It also reminds me of the visits to my uncleâ¿¿s farms back in South America, where the sun was always bright and the climate was so inspiring and smooth. I was able to connect to Emma in the same way she did with her family. They were close to one another, and encouraged each other to be honest no matter what the circumstances, as I am with my family. This wonderful story is brought to life with flourishing acrylic paintings, giving its readers a touching portrait of a book-hungry child growing up in a family of migrant workers. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about being determined, honest, and supportive in order to reach their goals.