Haiti My Country: Poems by Haitian Schoolchildren

For several months, Quebec illustrator Roge prepared a series of portraits of Haitian children. Students of Camp Perrin wrote that accompanying poems, which create, with flowing consistency, Haiti My Country. These teenaged poets use the Haitian landscape as their easel. The nature that envelops them is quite clearly their main subject. While misery often storms through Haiti in the form of earthquakes, cyclones, or floods, these young men and women see their surrounding nature as assurance for a joyful, confident future.

Painted Dreams

Because her Haitian family is too poor to be able to buy paints for her, eight-year-old Ti Marie finds her own way to create pictures that make the heart sing. Ti Marie dreams of being an artist. Whenever she gets some time away from watching her little sisters and helping Mama in their market stall, she finds a cement wall or a scrap of waste paper and lets her imagination soar. Using whatever she can find to make a mark–bits of red brick, charcoal, white rocks–Ti Marie makes beautiful art. If only she had real paint, brushes, and clean white canvas, what wonderful pictures she could paint then! But Mama says there is no money for such things. Still, Ti Marie finds a surprising way to make her dreams come true.

My Haiti, My Homeland

This book presents an interesting side of Haiti and its contributions to the Americas. Paul, a young boy who came from Haiti with his mother to live in Miami, gains pride in his homeland when his teacher gives him an assignment to research and report on interesting things in his country’s history.

In Darkness

In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, fifteen-year-old Shorty, a poor gang member from the slums of Site Soleil, is trapped in the rubble of a ruined hospital, and as he grows weaker he has visions and memories of his life of violence, his lost twin sister, and of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who liberated Haiti from French rule in the 1804.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 3

Eight Days

In Edwidge’s story, Junior is trapped under his pancaked house for 8 whole days. After he is saved, people ask him repeatedly: “What did you do all this time? Were you scared? Did you cry?””I played,” he answers. And so with each page, we see how he played in his mind every day he was trapped–how he played marbles with his friends, won the best solo part in the choir, biked through St. Marc with his little sister, and ate the sweetest mango.Hope, love, and warmth dance across each page, reminding us that sometimes it is the simplest beauties that help us find our strength.Niki, the real boy whom this story is loosely based on, was pulled from the rubble after being trapped for 8 days. He was rescued by New York Task Force 1, a search-and-rescue team made up of New York City police- and firemen. They had to cut through three slabs of concrete and countless other pieces of debris before his mother could crawl in to coax Niki and his sister out. When he finally made it out of the wreckage, Niki did so with a beaming smile and wide-open arms–the image of hope.** The photograph taken of Niki by Mathew McDermott as they pulled him from the wreckage is being called “the iconic image” of this disaster. We are embracing its visibililty by using an illustration echoing the photograph for the cover of the book and printing the photograph in the back matter.** In addition, this project is charity driven. Both Edwidge and Alix are donating a portion of their advances to Haitian aid organizations. Scholastic and their vendors are contributing portions of their costs for the production of this book.