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Children's Fiction Homelessness & Poverty

Ten Cents a Pound

by (author) Nhung N. Tran-Davies

illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2018
Homelessness & Poverty, School & Education, Asia, Parents
Recommended Age
5 to 9
Recommended Grade
2 to 4
Recommended Reading age
6 to 8
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
    List Price

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A young girl is torn by her desire to stay home with her family and the familiarity of their village, and her desire to go to school and discover the world beyond the mountains that surround them. Every time the girl insists that she will stay, her mother repeats that she must go—that there is more to life than labor in the coffee fields. Their loving exchange reveals the struggles and sacrifices that they will both have to make for the sake of the young girl’s future. The sweet, simple text captures a mother’s love and her wish for a life of opportunity for her daughter.

About the authors

Nhung N. Tran-Davies is a physician and advocate for social justice through education. Her family came to Canada as refugees from Vietnam in 1979, and in 2013 Nhung founded the Children of Vietnam Benevolent Foundation. She spoke at the UN's International Organization on Migration in Geneva as part of their "I am a Migrant" campaign to help reduce hate speech and promote tolerance. Nhung and her family live outside Edmonton, Alberta.

Nhung N. Tran-Davies' profile page

Jos&eacutee Bisaillon a illustr&eacute plus de trente-cinq livres pour enfants et cr&eacute&eacute de nombreuses illustrations pour des magazines et des journaux. Elle a &eacutet&eacute finaliste au Prix litt&eacuteraire du Gouverneur g&eacuten&eacuteral &agrave deux reprises et a remport&eacute le prestigieux Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award pour The Snow Knows. Il s’agit du quatri&egraveme ouvrage de Jos&eacutee avec Orca, apr&egraves My Head in the Clouds et Bedtime 123 &eacutecrit par Eric Walters, un succ&egraves de librairie. Elle vit en banlieue de Montr&eacuteal avec sa famille.

Josée Bisaillon's profile page


  • Short-listed, Alberta Literary Awards, R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
  • Commended, Bank Street Best Books of the Year
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books of 2018

Editorial Reviews

"The text is simple, poetic and powerful, the portrayal of the relationship between the nameless girl and mother touching and layered, sure to resonate deeply with readers. Bisaillon's mixed-media illustrations...are beautiful and emotionally engaging."

Canadian Children's Booknews

In alternating spreads containing lyrical verses, a young girl and her mother consider the child leaving home to attend school. Tran-Davies’ succinct and elegant text conveys heartfelt emotions.... This celebration of the mother-child bond is sure to spark discussions of childhood poverty.


Tran-Davies writes in succinct, yet elegant prose that conveys the heartfelt emotions of both mother and daughter. Mama may not be able to change her own situation, but she knows the path that will offer her daughter greater opportunities.... This works, both as a story celebrating the mother/child bond, as well as a catalyst for discussions of the realities of life in many poor countries. Highly recommended.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Ten Cents a Pound is a definite purchase for school and public libraries. This delightful and enchanting picture book would be an excellent jumping point for discussions on the migrant experience in the world today."

Resource Links

This is an unforgettable, poignant story of unconditional love and hope for the future.

National Reading Campaign

A touching lesson about parental love, sacrifice, the importance of education, and overcoming obstacles to create a better future.

School Library Journal

A compelling tale of love and sacrifice told through a series of rhythmic verses and poignant observations. In a story at turns both whimsical, with beautiful fluttering butterflies and flowers, and gritty, with stooped backs, worn hands, and tired faces, two generations of women dream of a better tomorrow.

Foreword Reviews

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