A Literary Analysis


A Literary Analysis by Maya in grade eight

Citation: Trottier, Maxine. Migrant. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2011.


I could count on this picture book to be entertaining because I have heard of Groundwood Books, the publisher, before and it has a good reputation. The book has also won the Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award by the New York Times and was a Governor General’s Literary Award (Illustration) Finalist.


Migrant shows a main character pattern. It focuses on the story of a young girl, Anna, whose family is always moving between Mexico and Northern Canada. She wonders what it would be like to stay in one place instead of travelling every season. The story tells what this German-speaking child sees and feels about this foreign country. Using a ton of metaphors and similes, the author, Maxine Trottier, compares Anna’s life to different animals and what their lives are like. Anna has trouble staying busy while her family works because she is too young to do anything.


Anna, a little girl whose family travels from Mexico to Canada, feels like a bird who is constantly flying back and forth,  north to south, when the seasons change, She wonders what it world be like to stay in one place. This imaginative picture book, beautifully illustrated, is recommended for readers 4 to 14-years-old.

 Point of View: 1st Person

  • There are times when Anna feels like a bird.” pg.4
  • “There are moments when she feels like a rabbit.” pg. 8
  • “Anna is too young to work.” pg. 14

 Tense: Present

  • “That is what she is during the day.” pg. 11
  • “Anna is too young to work.” pg. 14
  •  “But fall is here, and the geese are flying away.” pg. 36 

 Literary Excellence:

  • Metaphor:
  • “Her family is a flock of geese beating its way there and back again.” pg. 4
  •  “A bee. That’s what she is during the day.” pg. 11
  •  “At night Anna is a kitten sharing a bed with her sisters…” pg. 15


  • Simile: 
  • “In the other room her brothers are like puppies…” pg. 18
  • “To Anna’s ears it is as though a thousand crickets are all singing a different song.” pg. 26
  • “…their words as spicy as the hottest chilis…” pg. 22
  • “… or as slow and rich as dark molasses.” pg. 22
  •  “…Anna feels like a bird.” pg. 4


  • Length of sentence:
  •  “Dollars. Peas. Meatballs.” pg. 22
  •  “But when no one is watching, she picks a tomato now and again. Just the small ones.” pg. 14
  •  “A bee.” pg. 9


  • Alliteration: 
  • “…blanket that barely covers…” pg. 16
  •  “…sisters by your side…” pg. 15


  • Consonance:
  •  “…growling and nipping…” pg. 16
  • “What would it be like to be a tree…” pg. 28
  •  “…brothers and sisters…” pg. 10


  • Appositive:
  •  “A kitten is a good thing to be, a safe thing, curled there…” pg. 15
  •  “…puppies, growling and nipping in their sleep, fighting over…” pg. 18


  • Repetition:
  • “…dip and rise, dip and rise…” pg. 15


  • Hyperbole: 
  • “To Anna’s ears, it is as though a thousand crickets are all singing a different song.” pg. 25



My connection to Migrant by Maxine Trottier is text to world.  Previously in our Social Studies class, we learned about early human migration. Approximately two million years ago, people started migrating from Africa into Asia and then eventually to the tip of North America and the rest of the world. The main character, Anna, is a young girl who comes from a family of migrant workers from Mexico. According to Trottier, “Low German-speaking Mennonites from Mexico are a unique group of migrants who moved from Canada to Mexico in the 1920s and became an important part of the farming community there.

What is interesting is that I have learned that in our town there are still some local companies that will hire migrant workers for each season. For example, an aerospace facility and some farms have hired seasonal workers to increase their labour force. Unlike Anna, many migrant workers in today’s world are able to apply for permanent residency and create a new life in our country.

In the case of Anna’s family, they travel back and forth from Mexico to Canada, and do not have the living and working conditions usually reserved for residents. This constant lack of stability for Anna has therefore created a lack of a proper childhood — at least one that looks like the one I had — and this book both beautifully illustrates and communicates the hardships of a child of a migrant worker in so few words. 

A Planning Sheet to help you write your own Literary Analysis 


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