The Hard-Times Jar

The Hard-Times Jar

By Ethel Footman Smothers; John Holyfield (Illustrator)

Frances Foster Books, Hardcover, 9780374328528, 32pp.

Publication Date: August 2003


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 Mama's hard-times jar. Then there will surely be enough for extras. But when Mama tells Emma that this year she has to go to school instead of to work, it spoils everything. Now she will never own a store-bought book But school turns out to have a wonderful surprise in store for Emma.

Based on Ethel Footman Smothers's childhood, the story is brought to life with lush acrylic paintings, giving us a touching portrait of a book-hungry child.

About the Author
Ethel Footman Smothers lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
John Holyfield lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

John Holyfield's first picture book was The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers, for which he received a Flying Start in Publishers Weekly. A renowned fine artist, his paintings and prints can be found in galleries nationwide. John began painting at the age of nine, and his work is rich in cultural themes that capture the essence of the African American experience. John lives and paints in Rosemont, West Virginia.

Praise For The Hard-Times Jar

"Smothers's tale movingly attests to the rewards of hard work, honesty and of having dreams." --Starred, Publishers Weekly

"Based on the author's childhood, this inspirational story stands as a tribute to a strong family facing hard times...Filled with descriptive language, the text flows smoothly and clearly describes Emma's enthusiasm and fears." --New York Public Library