A HAITIAN FAMILY by Keith Elliot Greenberg


Age Range: 8 - 12
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 The focus of this entry in the Journey Between Two Worlds series is not a family; instead, Greenberg (Magic Johnson, 1992, etc.) succinctly covers the history and politics of Haiti and how the latter has affected refugees, one family in particular. An introduction defines refugees and the different reasons for the displacement of people; it is seen as a complex problem with ``no easy answers.'' The history of Haiti is described, as are recent events there; the effect of these events upon Bazelais Beaubrun and his wife and four children is clear--thus, history comes alive. Readers learn of the family's persecution, the perilous voyage by flimsy boat to the US, detention at a Florida camp, and immigration to New York City. The city is not paradise; they live in a dangerous neighborhood and cling to connections with their Haitian community; Greenberg also presents the advantages of their new life, and it is telling that the family elects to stay in New York while a democracy is set into place in their homeland. A worthy and fascinating introduction to issues of politics, history, and sociology, the book has some flaws: occasionally choppy transitions, short shrift on customs and religion, and disruptive parenthetical explications of words, e.g., ``colony (overseas settlement)''; it's a patchy solution to the problem of addressing difficult concepts. For the most part, the quality of the illustrative material is clear and instructive; a painting of ``boat people'' at sea being rescued by a helicopter is heart-wrenching. (further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1998
ISBN: 0-8225-3410-X
Page count: 56pp
Publisher: Lerner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997