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Erandi's Braids

Erandi and her mother live in the Mexican village of Patzcuaro. They are poor and need money to purchase a new fishing net. Erandi also hopes that her mother will buy her a new dress for the upcoming fiesta. But what will they do for money? One option is to sell their hair to the hair buyer, who will use it for wigs, eyelashes, and fine embroidery. This would be shameful for Erandi and her mother. What will they do?

Interested in using this resource in your classroom? Check out the posters that go along with this book: Opportunity Cost, Capital Resources, Scarcity.

Author: Antonia Herandez Madrigal
Illustrator: Tomie da Paola
Published: 1999
Accelerated Reader Level/Points: .5
Publisher: Putnam, Puffin

Comprehension Questions

What did Erandi hope her mother would buy her for her birthday?

A new dress for the fiesta.

What did Erandi and her mother do for a living?

They caught fish and sold them for money.

What capital resource did they use to help them catch fish?

A fishing net. They also used two buckets to carry their catch.

In the store, what two goods did Erandi want her mother to purchase for her?

A yellow dress and a doll.

Why wasn’t her mother able to buy both for Erandi?

Her mother didn’t have enough money for both. She had a scarcity of money (income).

What did her mother buy for Erandi?

The dress.

What was the opportunity cost of that decision?

The doll.

Why did the barber want to cut women’s hair?

Merchants would use the hair to make wigs, eyelashes, and fine embroidery. There was a market for these items, and hair was needed to produce them.

Bonus Question!

At the end of the story, Erandi’s mother used the money from selling Erandi’s hair to buy a new net and the doll.

Does this mean that there was no opportunity cost to the decision to buy both of these?

No! There is always an opportunity cost because there is always another choice (alternative/opportunity) that the money could be used for.