Some people have dresses for every occasion but Afiya needs only one. Her dress records the memories of her childhood, from roses in bloom to pigeons in flight, from tigers at the zoo to October leaves falling. A joyful celebration of a young girl’s childhood, written by the late Coretta Scott King Book Award-winning Jamaican poet James Berry.
Young Julia struggles with the steps to the Afro-Puerto Rican dance known as bomba, but when she stops trying so hard and listens and feels the beat of the drums, she is able to relax, enjoy herself, and do the steps perfectly.
Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup — Freedom Soup — just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.
After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus’s mother takes him and his younger brother, who has Down syndrome, to Puerto Rico to visit relatives they do not remember or have never met, and while there Marcus starts searching for his father, who left their family ten years ago and is somewhere on the island.
This book has been included in WOW’s Language and Learning: Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Booklist. For our current list, visit our Booklist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.
Set in New Jersey in 1984, Beatriz’s story is a timeless one of a teenager’s navigation of romance, her brother’s choices, and her own family’s difficult past. A companion novel to the much-lauded Like Vanessa.
Eleven-year-old Ada De Jesús was on the cusp of her teens when she moved to the United States from Puerto Rico. Hurricane Hugo had just decimated the island and her father couldn’t find a job. In Chicago, the white dress she arrived in didn’t protect her from the snow and frigid temperatures! Constantly exposed to new things, she developed a resilience that served her well. “From one place to another, like riding a bike, if you keep pedaling, you won’t fall.” Ada discovered that students in the United States were frequently disrespectful to their teachers. At school she often felt like a two-year-old as she grappled with a completely new language. In addition to navigating a different culture, she had to deal with all the issues familiar to teenage girls: the growth of body hair, pimples, menstruation and burgeoning feelings for the opposite sex. Her memories of first intimate encounters, fending off unwanted advances and fear of pregnancy will strike a chord with readers. In these short vignettes recollecting her middle-school years, Ada De Jesús shares her poignant and often funny experiences as a newcomer and an adolescent. Young readers will relate to—and laugh at—her experiences; some may take heart that they too will overcome the difficulties common at this age.
Jennifer Mathieu’s multilayered novel explores the nature of secrets, lies, and fierce, destructive love.
Alaine Beauparlant has heard about Haiti all her life. But the stories were always passed down from her dad—and her mom, when she wasn’t too busy with her high-profile newscaster gig. But when Alaine’s life goes a bit sideways, it’s time to finally visit Haiti herself. What she learns about Haiti’s proud history as the world’s first black republic (with its even prouder people) is one thing, but what she learns about her own family is another. Suddenly, the secrets Alaine’s mom has been keeping, including a family curse that has spanned generations, can no longer be avoided. It’s a lot to handle, without even mentioning that Alaine is also working for her aunt’s nonprofit, which sends underprivileged kids to school and boasts one annoyingly charming intern.But if anyone can do it all…it’s Alaine.
Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragueros, mischievous cats, and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.
Sixteen-year-old Indy struggles to conceal that she is pregnant by rape and then, turned out by relatives, must find a way to survive on her own in Nassau.