When I began to research books to include on my honesty booklist, I came across A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler, in lots of my research. Though I generally try to get books from the library before I buy them (our school library didn’t have this one, and even if our public library system was open, our local system doesn’t have this one either!), I figured anything written by Bunting would be a safe bet to buy sight-unseen, so I scrounged around online to find a way to get this one anyway. And y’all, I am SO glad that we own this important book.
Covering honesty, immigration, language barriers, intergenerational relationships, and more, you can read this one over and over and over again with a different takeaway every time! In A Day’s Work, Francisco is trying to help his grandfather, who just moved to California two days ago and speaks no English, find work for a day. Discouraged about their chances to make some day labor money, Francisco tells a potential employer that his grandfather is “a fine gardener,” though he’s actually a carpenter, with little to no gardening experience. Francisco feels confident that his lie has worked, as they’re going to be paid much more than they hoped for their work, and the job seems easy enough to understand without gardening experience. But when the boss comes back to check on them, rather than being pleased, he’s angry… They’ve pulled out all the flowers and left the weeds!
Angry at first, Abuelo quickly gains his control and an understanding of Francisco’s lie (man, how I wish I had the patience and understanding that Abuelo does!) and instructs Francisco to let the boss know that they will come back tomorrow and fix the problem that they’ve caused. Though Francisco is reluctant to give up another weekend day to work, Abuelo reminds him that “it is the price of the lie.”
And this is where the beauty of this book comes in. The price of a lie… What a powerful lesson for a child to learn. Our lies always have prices, even though we may think we’ve gotten away with them initially. Ben is willing to continue to work with Abuelo, because of his integrity. Because he already knows the important things… The importance of honesty, of hard work, of making our wrongs right. A Day’s Work will stick with you long after you’ve read it and impact you more with each rereading.
Do you have a favorite Eve Bunting book? We also love One Green Apple (you can read more about that book in this post), Night Tree (featured in my 2018 Christmas booklist), and Yard Sale (on our list of favorite books about moving)! You can bet I’ve put in a request to our local library system to add this to its collection!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out the rest of the books on our honesty booklist, as well as the in-depth reviews of The Empty Pot and Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie!
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