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A Day's Work: 06/30/17

A Day's Work  by Eve Bunting

A Day's Work by Eve Bunting is a day in the life of a migrant worker family. Francisco, a young Mexican-American boy takes his recently arrived grandfather to show him how to find a day labor job.

My impression with the set up is that Francisco's family had found themselves in an unexpected tight spot and that's why the grandfather is suddenly forced to work on a weekend. I also get the impression that Francisco was born in the U.S. and is helping out as so many children in his position have to do from time to time.

The book as it plays out is this: a contractor comes and picks up the boy and his grandfather, saying he only has money for one. The boy says he's not working, just interpreting for his grandfather. The man agrees and takes them to a hillside near a new housing complex. He tells the two to pull out the weeds. They end up pulling out the ice plant and keeping the weeds.

And it's the ice plant that makes this story feel horribly dated. I wish I could say that the migrant worker lines at Home Depot and UHaul were a thing of the past, but the California economy is still very lopsided and growing more so in places.

No, what has happened instead, is a change in priorities in planting. Some of it is due to the ongoing drought, but some of it is a longer environmental struggle to return California to its native habitats. Ice plant is now considered in many places (and certainly on the scale shown in this book) an invasive species. Those pretty white wildflowers they kept at first and then had to pull out, would have been planted now.

Four stars

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