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The Hard-Times Jar 1 Edition
Contributor(s): Smothers, Ethel Footman, Holyfield, John (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0374328528     ISBN-13: 9780374328528
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
    OUR PRICE: $17.10  
Product Type: School And Library
Published: August 2003
Qty:
Annotation: Based on the author's childhood, this story is brought to life with lush acrylic paintings, giving readers a touching portrait of a book-hungry child growing up in a family of migrant workers. Full color.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Migrant labor; Fiction.
Books and reading; Fiction.
African Americans; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
- Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2002026596
Lexile Measure: 520
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 11.50" H x 8.75" W x 0.20" (0.85 lbs) 32 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 70400
Reading Level: 3.1   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q39453
Reading Level: 2.7   Interest Level: Grades 3-5   Point Value: 2.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
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.

Contributor Bio(s): iv>Ethel Footman Smothers lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

John Holyfield lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia.


Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring)
Emma longs for a store-bought book, but in her migrant farm family any extra money goes in the hard-times jar. Although she knows it isn't allowed, Emma takes home books from school, and Mama makes her tell her teacher--the hardest thing Emma's ever done. Mama rewards her with quarters from the hard-times jar. The moving story, based on the author's own childhood, is accompanied by rich, lively paintings. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2003 July #4)
Smothers's (Down in the Piney Woods) tale movingly attests to the rewards of hard work, honesty and of having dreams. Eight-year-old Emma and her family have "[come] up on the season," from Florida to Pennsylvania, to harvest crops as migrant workers. Emma loves books, but her family cannot afford "the store-bought kind," so she writes her own stories on brown paper connected with safety pins. When new ideas distract Emma from watching her younger siblings or picking apples, her mother warns: "Do you want me to hide that pencil?" Emma works to help add money to the family's "hard-times jar," hoping some day to buy a book. Debut illustrator Holyfield uses color to understated yet dramatic effect. Earthy browns and greens convey both the austerity of the family's one-room home, and the lush orchards where they work. He movingly portrays Emma's turning points: her mother holding her, gently telling Emma that she'll be going to school; Miss Miller, her teacher (whose "face reminded Emma of buttermilk"), introducing Emma to a classroom of white children ("She had never gone to school with people Miss Miller's color. Down south it was not allowed"); the teacher pulling aside long red drapes to reveal the school library. After Emma's mother discovers that she has sneaked home library books, Emma stands before the teacher, her posture (feet together, hands clasped, the incriminating books on the teacher's desk) capturing the trepidation of a child's confession to a respected adult. The book closes with an uplifting scene of Emma's mother giving her coins from the hard-times jar, recognizing Emma's need for her own book. Ages 4-8. (Aug) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2003 October)
K-Gr 4-Based on the author's childhood, this inspirational story stands as a tribute to a strong family facing hard times. Emma and her family are migrant workers who follow the crops to make a living. Passionate about books, the girl longs for a store-bought volume, but knows that the few coins her mother saves in a jar are for no-money days. Arriving in Pennsylvania, Emma, her parents, and younger siblings pick apples together, but then Mama tells her that she is to attend school now that she is eight. Nervous because she is the only "chocolate-brown" child in the class, which could not have happened in her still-segregated Florida home, Emma soon discovers the riches of the school library. Desperate to read, she takes two volumes home for the weekend, against the rules. A kind teacher and a firm but understanding mother lead to a happy ending. Filled with descriptive language, the text flows smoothly and it clearly describes Emma's enthusiasm and fears. The richly textured browns, yellows, and greens of the paintings evoke a warm, orderly, and nonthreatening environment, reinforced by the mother's long arms reaching out and embracing her children.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.