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The Hard-Times Jar
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The Hard-Times Jar

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  66 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
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 M
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 12th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Feb 02, 2014 Relyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: Pinterest
The Hard-Times Jar was hard to get a hold of. I had to make an inter-library loan request. It was worth the effort to read it, though not perhaps one I would purchase for my classroom since it isn't in paperback. I did like the different perspective of this book. I liked the view of school and of poverty from the perspective of a shy book-loving child. This book is a sweet love story to books and book lovers.
Memory Toast
Jul 29, 2015 Memory Toast rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-mommy
What happens when an impoverished girl, who writes her own stories on the backs of grocery bags and dreams of one day owning her own store-bought book, gets to a school with an enormous classroom library? How will her family's "hard-times jar" come into the story?

If you'd like to know, read this poginant tale about honesty, education, and a love of books.
Even though this is specifically a migrant family, any reader whose family has struggled financially could relate to a situation like this. Waiting and waiting for something because it is financially out of reach is something many people can understand. The love of reading is another connecting point. This is a good example for memoir units too.
The only thing I didn't like is that it was against the rules to borrow a book from the classroom library! This poor, migrant family had to spend their hard-earned hard-times jar money on a book? That's what libraries are FOR! Emma should have been able to borrow books for free!
Feb 21, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This book would be a good book for older grades (3-5). You could use it to explain to students how important reading is and how easily you can fall in love with it. Also, it has many themes in the book such a hard work and telling the truth if you have done something wrong.
Aug 04, 2010 S10_Helena rated it really liked it
Genre: fiction
Format: picture book
Grade level: elementary - middle school

This is a book about an eight year old girl named Emma who loves to read but her family is very poor and can not afford books. Since she does not have any books, she creates stories and writes them down. Her parents then decide to let her attend school. Emma is in awe by all the books the school has in the library. She takes two of them home even though it is forbidden. Emma’s mother gives her money from the hard-times jar
Jan 22, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This was a really cute, touching book about the power of reading, books and education. When I saw how much text there was I wasn't sure if my 3 year would sit through it; sometimes he is turning the pages on shorter books...but he sat through the whole thing quietly and when we were done said, let's get another book like this. It was really sweet! I was very touched by the message and really enjoyed the illustrations. Teaches a very good lesson about what many of us take for granted (seeing that ...more
Lauren White
Jan 29, 2015 Lauren White rated it really liked it
Good for grades 2-6
At first I thought it was a book focused on money and counting, which is why I grabbed it, for a possible science collection, but instead...true to it's title, it is about a family's struggle to make ends meet and a young eight-year-old girl who has a long for writing and reading. I found it deeply touching.
May 07, 2013 Deana rated it really liked it
Shelves: positive-message
I thought this was a fantastic book that covered a lot of different themes that children could relate to in one form or another: honesty, integrity, hard work, saving, issues of race and socioeconomics. Unfortunately, it is too lengthy to use in my pre-school storytimes, but I would consider using this for K-2 programming.
Janine Baker
Feb 14, 2013 Janine Baker rated it it was amazing
Loved this book the first time I read it. The lessons Emma learns are real in for so many children. The message of the book serves up to determination and honesty. A great read every time!
Jun 25, 2008 Kristin rated it really liked it
lovely story about a black girl who goes to a school that is all white who loves book and finally gets a book of her own
Kristin Sprague
Apr 22, 2012 Kristin Sprague rated it really liked it
saving up for a "rainy day"
Andrea Labonte
Dec 17, 2014 Andrea Labonte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juv
Great Book.
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