My Day with the Panye

Candlewick. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763697495.
PreS-Gr 3–Manman is planning a special day for her daughter, Fallon, in the markets of Port-au-Prince, and little sister Naima will have to wait her turn. Charles sprinkles Haitian words into the text that give texture to this loving book, which is part interpersonal story and a part travelogue of sights and sounds.“Manman wraps her hair in a silk mouchwa, brighter than the Caribbean sea. I twist my sun-yellow scarf into my braids, but it doesn’t look as good as hers.” Palacio’s brilliant illustrations of slightly stylized, elongated figures with mahogany skin tones, make the meanings clear, as Manman adds a panye, or basket, to the mouchwa on her head, for bringing back supplies. Along the way, Fallon longs to carry the panye, but her mother cautions her that these things take time. There are metaphors for carrying the panye that extend to Haiti itself—that it sways under the weight of sad events but it is not crushed. The poetic writing and Fallon’s assessment of her ability will touch children deeply. An author’s note tells of Charles’s affinity for and connection to Haiti, and the significance of the panye globally.
VERDICT A few facts, a generous worldview, and a bonding of mother and daughter makes this book ideal for story hours and lap-sharing.

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