BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Alix Delinois

Eight DaysThis has been one tragic week: the deadly Oaxaca, Mexico mudslide, the two Rutgers freshmen whose abusively invasive actions led to the suicide of a third first-year student, the deaths of iconic actor Tony Curtis and director Arthur Penn … and goodness, I feel like I’m just getting started …

So on this last day of September, I thought it was time to post a happy ending story of survival against all odds.

No one writes as memorably of Haiti than the award-winning Edwidge Danticat. And goodness can she render some of the most horrific, haunting inhumanity into remarkably flowing, unforgettable prose. Her latest title is dedicated to “the children of Haiti,” the children who survived the January 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake, who “in spite of everything, … still dream … laugh … live … [and] love.”

Eight days after the earth shook, a young boy is pulled from the rubble that was once his house. “I was brave,” he states simply when asked if he was afraid, sad, if he cried. And he tells the wondrous story of how he survived through his imagination: “In my mind, I played.”

Trapped and frightened, the little boy created delightful adventures each day, imagining that he was playing with his best friend Oscar, flying kites, gathering “the biggest game of marbles ever played … in the entire world!” He plays ‘hide-and-seek,’ teases his sister, visits his father’s barbershop, sings “the best solo ever sung,” gives his mother mango-kisses, even remembers to recite his lessons. And when he is finally pulled to freedom, he “hugged [his family] so tight I thought I would never let go.”

Captured with hopeful vibrancy by Haitian American artist Alix Delinois, the power of imaginative play, of hours spent in childhood wonder, the final relief of grace-filled reunion, emanate from the pages. In spite of all the tragedy around us, how lovely (and necessary) to be reminded of happy endings and miraculous re-beginnings.

Today … and every day … hold your children tight, teach them to be kind and gentle, read them stories like this one and keep fueling their joyful spirits.

Click here to see Edwidge Danticat’s other titles on BookDragon.

Readers: Children

Published: 2010


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