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A Day's Work

Last updated Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Author: Eve Bunting
Illustrator: Ronald Himler
Date of Publication: 1994
ISBN: 0395673216
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2005

Synopsis: When Francisco, a young Mexican American boy, tries to help his grandfather find work, he discovers that even though the old man cannot speak English, he has something even more valuable to teach Francisco.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at the cover, what do you think this book is about?
•  What do you think it would be like to not understand what anyone else is saying? What would you do?
•  Have you ever had to translate English and Spanish for your parent or another grownup? How did that make you feel?
•  Do you know anyone who has done day work? What kinds of jobs did they do?
•  What lessons have you learned from your parents or relatives?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How does Francisco feel about his grandfather?
•  What did Francisco say to convince Ben to hire him and grandfather? What mistake did he make?
•  What does the grandfather mean when he says ?that is the price of a lie?? Why is he mad at Francisco?
•  Have you ever told a lie to someone? What were the consequences?
•  What did the grandfather do that taught the boy a lesson? What was that lesson?
•  Ben said that the ?important things your grandfather knows already.? What are the things he is referring to?

Craft ideas:
•  Think of a lesson that someone you love has taught you. Write/ draw that person a card telling them about it.
•  Make a paper garden with weeds and flowers that can be plucked or planted. Take a piece of construction paper in the landscape orientation, and make a two inch fold from the bottom to serve as the ?lawn.? You could also make a fan-fold about halfway up to make another row. Decorate the lawn and sky, and then you can insert cutouts of flowers, vegetables, weeds, etc into the rows.
•  Make a Spanish-English dictionary for someone who doesn?t speak English. Brainstorm a list of words that someone would need to know. Illustrate each word or some of the words.

Special activities:
•  Francisco had to translate for his grandfather. Play ?telephone? - sit in a circle, and have one person whisper a sentence to the person next to him. That person whispers what he heard to the next person, and so on. See if what the last person heard is what the first person said.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!