Eight Days: A Story of Haiti by Edwidge Danticat illus. by Alix Delinois
The first three words that come to my mind when I think of Eight Days are healing, survival and hope. I think its the perfect first picture book after the earthquake in Haiti that killed many and forced the Island to rebuild. Rather than focus on loss, Danticat writes about a boy who is saved thanks in part to his imagination.
The story begins with 7 yr old Junior being pulled from the rubble eight days after the earthquake. Though Junior's body was trapped his mind was free, and each day he did something new. Junior tells the people assembled at his rescue what he did on each day.
Junior is having fun most days with best friend Oscar or his sister Justine. Though on the 5th day Oscar went to sleep and never woke up. "That was the day I cried"
I was touched by that line. Its not often boys are seen crying in books. I think Eight Days is quietly beautiful. Its also gorgeous. Delinois illustrations are simply wonderful. The colors are Haiti.
The note from the author in the back, is a must read for adults.
The earthquake on January 12, 2010, dramatically change their lives. Many watched loved ones die. Others, like Junior, were stuck in the rubble of their homes and were rescued several days later. Yet in spite of everything, Haiti's children still dream. They laugh. They live. They love."
There's so much more, including the fact that nearly half of Haiti's population is under fifteen. Danticat wrote Eight Days for the children. Though adults will take something away from it as well. Eight Days will touch your heart.
Scholastic the publishers of Eight Days are donating $10,000 to the International Rescue Committe (IRC). Click on the link and check it out. You can also make a donation of your own. Or simply buy a copy of Eight Days.
An NPR interview with the author
Danticat also has an adult novel coming out Sept 21 called Create Dangerously an excerpt
"Create Dangerously is an eloquent and moving expression of Danticat's belief that immigrant artists are obliged to bear witness when their countries of origin are suffering from violence, oppression, poverty, and tragedy."