In this story full of the sounds, colors, and language of Haiti, the protagonist connects with herself, her family history, and the history of Haiti through her auntie Luce’s extraordinary art.
The bright cover depicts the young, brown-skinned, female protagonist with cornrowed hair, holding hands with Auntie Luce on the beach near a high hillside of multicolored houses. The dripping sun above them suggests that, with the long-handled brush that each character holds aloft, they are also painting the scene in which they appear. Vague details of conflicts between Luce and her sister, the protagonist’s mother, hint at why the child flies unaccompanied to Haiti every winter to visit, leaving her parents and brother behind. On this visit, the first question she asks Luce is if she can sit for a new painting. Since Auntie Luce last painted her when she was 7, Luce enthusiastically agrees, although the child has trouble sitting still for so long. It’s worth the effort, though, because Luce’s paintings “always talk back”—telling the stories of important black heroes of Haiti, such as Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Toussaint Louverture, as well as relatives. Daley’s richly saturated acrylic-on–illustration board paintings convey some of the complexities of time and place through the images themselves.
Young readers will enjoy how Latour and Daley celebrate Haitian history and culture through this lovely, artistic story. (Picture book. 4-8)