Ken Daley’s illustrations in this book immediately grabbed my students’ attention. They wanted to know if Haiti really looked like the pictures.
They were captivated further by Francie Latour’s story of a girl who travels from the United States to Haiti to visit her aunt, a painter. As she experiences the sights, sounds, colors, history, and culture of Haiti, she learns a lot about herself.
We discussed the girl’s conflicting feelings and what she learned from her Haitian experience.
“The little girl didn’t feel Haitian enough and she didn’t feel American enough. She learned that she is enough.”
“She doesn’t know if she is American or Haitian. She learned that she is American and Haitian.”
“She’s feeling pressure to be both Haitian and American. It shows she’s human.”
“Her aunt told her to think of them as one, not two separate things.”
“She doesn’t know where she belongs. She thinks Haiti is beautiful and happy but also dark and gloomy. She learned that she can belong in both places, Haiti and America.”
My fifth graders were able to connect the lessons from this book to their own lives as they considered how their identities include different parts.