Children at Work Class 8 English Summary Questions Answers NCERT

Children at Work Class 8 English Summary Questions Answers NCERT

Summary of Children at Work

Children at Work is a story about a young boy named Velu who ran away from home because his dad was a drunkard and used to beat him. He left the house and roamed around in his town until he found a train that was going to Kanyakumari. He got on the train without a ticket but luckily, the ticket collector didn’t check on him for not having one.

Velu was tired when he reached Chennai Central Railway Station. When he got off the train, he was surprised to see so many people in the station who were in a hurry. He travelled on an unreserved coach where people were screaming and playing cards. He couldn’t sleep because of all of the noise and felt hungry because he hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. The seats on the train were taken so Velu sat on a bench for most of the ride. It felt like there was no one around that Velu could talk to or spend time with which made him feel lonely, but at least it meant more space for him to sit down.

Suddenly, a little girl named Jaya approached Velu. She was dressed shabbily and she talked to Velu. She told him that she could help him get food to eat. It was hard for Velu to talk with her because he did not want to do this, but he went along with her when she helped him cross the busy streets jammed with big vehicles. Jaya also warned him that if the police caught them, they would go inside of the Central Jail.

Jaya and Velu were looking for food. They found a marriage hall. Jaya picked bananas from the garbage and Velu ate one banana, but he refused to eat a vada because it was in the garbage. When they got to Jaya’s house, she told him that she used to live in a slum house made of trash like plastic sheets and old tires.

Immediately, Jaya gave a bag to Velu and asked him to help her collect scrap articles. She told Velu that after they collected enough, she would sell it to the scrapper, who would then sell it to factories. So Velu became a ragpicker too. But he decided that when he finds a better job, he would quit this one forever.

NCERT Solutions of Children At Work

Comprehension Check (Page 9)

Question 1: Velu stood on the platform but he felt “as if he was still on a moving train”. Why?

Answer: Velu ran away from his home and caught a train to Chennai. It was the first time he had ever been on a train. When he got off, he felt shaky and wobbly. He was hungry and anxious. It felt like the train was going still going even though it had stopped in Chennai too.

Question 2: What made him feel miserable?

Answer: Velu felt sad and tired when he lay down his head on his knees. He had been running away from home for two days. Two days ago, someone got angry and hurt him with a weapon (he doesn’t say what). He didn’t eat anything but peanuts and a piece of candy in the past two days. The big city looks like it is full of people that do not know where they are going.

Question 3: (i) Velu travelled without a ticket. Why?

(ii) How did he escape the ticket collector’s attention?


(i) Velu’s father would get drunk and take away all of the money that Velu and his sisters earned. Velu left to find a job so that he could buy food for his family. So he left without a ticket because he had no money to buy himself one.

(ii) Velu escaped the ticket collector because he didn’t come to the place where Velu was sitting. There is no ticket for that place. Now, Velu can sleep on the floor near the door.

Question 4: Why had Velu run away from home?

Answer: Velu lived in a poor family. He and his sisters would work all the time. But the father would take all their money for drinking alcohol, not food. Velu ran away, because he was very angry with his father.

Question 5: Why did he decide to follow the ‘strange’ girl?

Answer: Velu followed the girl because he was new to the big city and didn’t know where to go. He also had not eaten for two days, so he was hungry and stressed.

Comprehension Check (Page 13)

Question 1: Can Velu read Tamil and English? How do you know?

Answer: Velu couldn’t read the English signboards, but when he walked by the Jail, he could read it because it was written in Tamil.

Question 2: “If you are not careful, you will soon be counting bars there,” the girl said.

(i) What is she referring to?

(ii) What does she mean when she says “If you are not careful…”?

(She says something a little later which means the same. Find that sentence.)


(i) She was referring to the Central Jail.

(ii) When she said to Velu, “If you are not careful…”, she meant that he should never get caught and end up in jail. Besides, she also meant that they should be extra cautious and not do anything stupid in order to avoid getting caught by the policemen. The other girl told him that he did not have to do anything. He just needed not to get caught.

Question 3: (i) Where did the girl lead Velu to?

(ii) What did they get to eat?

Answer: (i) The girl led Velu to a big wedding hall. She went behind the hall, to the area where there was a garbage bin full of rubbish. She picked up a squashy banana and held it out to him because he was starving. Then she quickly picked up a vada and gave it to him too eat.

(ii) Velu got a squashy banana and a vada, but the girl only got one banana to eat.

Question 4: What work did she do? Think of a one-word answer.

Answer: She worked as a rag picker.

Comprehension Check (Page 15)

Question 1: (i) What material are the ‘strange’ huts made out of?

(ii) Why does Velu find them strange?

Answer: (i) The huts were made out of different things like metal sheets, tires, bricks, wood and plastic.

(ii) In Velu’s village, houses were made of mud and palm leaves. But in the city, the buildings were made of different things, like metal sheets, tires, bricks, wood and plastic. They did not look right because they were crooked and looked like they would fall any moment. He visited a slum area for the first time and he was surprised by what he saw there because people lived there in these strange buildings that had been made from all sorts of materials that weren’t usually used to build houses.

Question 2: What sort of things did Jaya and children like her collect and what did they do with those things?

Answer: Jaya and other children like her collected paper, plastic, glass and things like that. They sold it to Jam Bazaar Jaggu who sold it to the nearby factory.

Question 3: Is Velu happy or unhappy to find work? Give a reason for your answer.

Answer: Velu had run away. He was sad because he found someone who does not have a job. They must dig through garbage cans for food. He remembered that he had done work on the landowner’s farm before, but now the only work that is available is digging through garbage cans for food. He will do this until he finds better work for himself.

Exercise (Page 16)

Discuss the following questions in small groups. Write their answers afterwards.

Question 1: Is Velu a smart boy? Which instances in the text show that he is or isn’t?

Answer: Velu ran away from his village because his father was drunk and was going to hurt him. He went to a big city, Chennai, but he didn’t know what to do there. He met a woman named Jaya who helped him get food when she saw that he was hungry. Velu followed her and acted smartly by following her for help.

When he was travelling, he read a sign written in Tamil. The sign said that he should not do anything stupid and that the police might catch him. Jaya told him to avoid the police and go to the slum area. There, he saw houses made of metal sheets, tyres, bricks, wood and plastic. They looked like they might fall down any time because they are crookedly put together with no support underneath them. Jay told Velu how she and other kids collected paper, glass and garbage and took it to Jam Bazaar Jaggu. He sold it to a factory nearby. Velu agreed to work as a rag-picker like Jaya because he wanted to find a better job for himself.

Question 2: Do you think Jaya is a brave and sensitive child with a sense of humour? Find instances of her courage, kind nature and humour in the text.

Answer: Jayal was a tough and sensitive child. She was the same age as Velu and worked as a rag-picker. She knew how to survive in the city, and she knew where to find food. When Jaya met Velu at the train station, she roamed around with him looking for glass, paper or bottles, or food by going behind some buildings. Jaya tried to help her friend in every way possible. She gave him a pair of old shoes without laces and also a sack and stick. We can see that she is very funny when she asks Velu if he had come to Chennai to become rich. She tells him that if he stays in the middle of the road like that, he will get run over by big vehicles.

Question 3: What one throws away as waste may be valuable to others. Do you find this sentence meaningful in the context of this story? How?

Answer: The story “Children at work” tells about the sad lives of people who live in slums. This is especially true for the children, who often have to go and work as rag pickers in order to make money and feed themselves. People throw away leftovers, bottles, and paper that these children collect so they can sell them to factories nearby. Some people throw away things that are useful to other people. For example, a ragpicker can pick up that thing and sell it. Difficult times cause some children to have to work as ragpickers.


We would love your reading of other chapters of So It Happened Class 8 English Such as; How the Camel got his HumpThe Selfish Giant, The Treasure within, Princess September, The Fight, The Open Window, Jalebis, The Comet- I, The Comet- II & Ancient Education System of India

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