Working Cotton

  • Title: Working Cotton
  • Author: Sherley Anne Williams
  • Illustrator: Carole Byard
  • Publisher: Voyager Books, Harcourt Brace & Company
  • Publication year: 1992
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon-“This child’s view of the long day’s work in the cotton fields, simply expressed in a poet’s resonant language, is a fresh and stirring look at migrant family life.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –I think this book could be used in the classroom, when talking about historical working conditions for children, and migrant families. As such, I think this book could be used for older children as well.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –Williams uses a particular speech in her protagonist’s voice, and this allows the reader to really feel like we are hearing from the child speaking. Additionally, Byard’s landscape in the illustrations enforces the heat we are meant to feel as these families pick cotton. The blue sky is cloudless, and there is nothing by boundless fields of cotton. The characters wear hats and shawls and there are even moments in the book where we see the sweat on the character’s heads.

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