From School Library Journal
Gr 2-5–Focusing on one child who survived the 2010 disaster in Haiti, this beautiful and touching picture book is a true testament to the spirit of the people of this nation. A seven-year-old boy (only identified as Junior on the flap copy) was pulled from under his home eight days after the earthquake. He and his best friend, Oscar, were home alone. When he was asked if he'd been afraid, he answered, “I missed Manman and Papa...in my mind, I played.” Often the text starts with “On the first day (second, third) and shows his “playing” with his friends. On the fifth day, Oscar went to sleep and never woke up. On the eighth day, Junior was rescued and reunited with his family. The illustrations, done in acrylic paint, pastel crayons, and collage, are bold, realistic, and bright. There are moments that the pictures almost convince readers that the youngster is really playing with his friends. They are vibrant and share the beauty of the country, not the destruction. In an endnote the Haitian-born author writes of the children of Haiti, her feelings when she learned of the earthquake, and her fears about her family still living there.–Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
After his miraculous rescue in the earthquake in Haiti, Junior, seven, tells his survival story of being trapped beneath rubble for eight days. Both the author and illustrator were born in Haiti and have close ties there, and their moving storytelling personalizes the dramatic news stories of the disaster with a close-up, fictionalized narrative of one child’s experience. In the opening scene, Junior stands before the cameras and remembers how he coped during his ordeal. Beautiful, bright artwork, in acrylics, pastel, and collage, shows how his memories and imagination kept him alive, as he revisits scenes of playing soccer with his friends, helping Papa in his barbershop, racing on his bicycle with his sister, and fulfilling his dream of singing solo in church. The narrative’s powerful rhythm echoes the Genesis Creation story, giving it even more gravity: On the first day I flew my kite. . . . On the second day . . . Never too sentimental, the story works because of the clear presence of great sadness and loss. Grades K-3. --Hazel Rochman