- My Day with the Panye by Tami Charles
Trade ed. ISBN 9780763697495 $17.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 4–7 yrs
It’s young Fallon’s turn to accompany Manman to the market in Port-au-Prince, and she’s desperate to carry the panye atop her head, but she’s not able to keep her balance and the basket crashes to the floor. Manman is gentle, though, taking up the task, and as they walk through their city, she points to the beauty of their island and the fortitude of their neighbors and explains that carrying the panye is as much an act of love as it is a skill. The text has a rhythmic vibrancy, rich with imagery: “We walk past colorful walls—swirls of blue like a cloudless sky; green and red like the coffee plants sprouting at our feet.” The vivid narrative is matched by the effervescent digital art, packed to the brim with texture and bold colors and perfectly capturing the milieu of the Haitian city, from the “tap-tap bus” that chugs by, to the graffiti that celebrates Haitian culture, to the joyful chaos of the market. Manman’s mention of the 2010 Haiti earthquake may need to be given some adult context, but plenty of kids will relate to Fallon’s yearning to prove her mettle by carrying the basket and they’ll appreciate Manman’s patience and encouragement. Readers who enjoyed the neighborhood jaunt in Quintero’s My Papi Has a Motorcycle (BCCB 5/19) will want to amble along with Fallon and Manman. An author’s note gives more background.