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Some picture books are meant to entertain, and others to inform in a very straightforward way. A select few take on a loftier goal of encouraging children to think about ‘big issues,’ which can be the trickiest of goals to achieve. Edwidge Danticat’s new picture book Eight Days: A Story of Haiti meets this goal handily, creating a work of beauty that honors the people of Haiti when facing the life-changing earthquake earlier this year.
Told in the voice of Junior, a seven-year-old boy who is trapped in the rubble of his house after the earthquake, Eight Days: A Story of Haiti depicts the life that the boy loves, and his memories and thoughts of Haiti help him survive the unbelievable. From flying kites and playing marbles with his friends, to singing in the Sainte Trinite’s children’s choir, to frolicking in the countryside during a warm summer rain, Junior’s memories, illustrated with bright, vibrant paintings by Alix Delinois, show the beauty of Haiti remembered.
Both Danitcat and Delinois were born in Haiti, and their love of their homeland comes through in every word and brushstroke. Danticat’s note at the end of the book eloquently describes her own experience in Miami when she heard about the earthquake and her motivation for writing this book. Geared at children aged four to eight, this book focuses on the happy memories and hope for recovery, although it does include one tragic moment that brought both my husband and I to tears when we looked at the book together before sharing it with our children.
Danticat and Delinois share the beauty of a land that many only know from the news reports post-earthquake. The beauty and charm of the Haiti as they have known it before the earthquake make for an amazing tribute in Eight Days: A Story of Haiti.
Family, friends, books and blogging– the simplest way to sum up Dawn’s life. Details can be found at my thoughts exactly.
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It seems like picture books always make explanations so much easier, and yet rather than being the easy way out, they also make them more powerful. What a great tribute and tool!
Anne- wonderfully said, and I absolutely agree!
Angela W. says
I have been on two mission trips to Haiti and have such a heart for the beautiful people there! In the midst of struggle, they have great joy.
I think this would be a good book to share with my daughter. At 3 y.o., she likes to read my Coast Guard Reservist magazine, and one of the issues was about our response in Haiti. She had a lot of questions about it (there were pictures of CG members helping injured Haitian kids that piqued her interest). I think I was able to explain what happened and the consequences (without scaring her), and how people came together to help. This would probably solidify that message. Thanks for including it in this campaign!
She sounds like a very precocious three year old! It is a beautiful book- I hope it hits the mark for you!
Laura Fabiani says
I just posted my review of this book. My children and I were really touched by this book. Although sad it is hopeful, and with the bright and colorful illustrations, it is a beautiful book.