cover image My Day with the Panye

My Day with the Panye

Tami Charles, illus. by Sara Palacios. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636

Sketching Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Charles (All Because You Matter) centers Fallon, a brown-skinned Haitian girl who envies her mother’s ability to carry the family’s panye on her head as she walks to and from market. As Fallon’s first-person narration relays how she tries and fails to balance the basket atop her silk-wrapped hair, Manman counsels patience: “When I was your age, my Manman would say, ‘Pitit pitit zwazo fe nich li: Little by little the bird builds its nest.’ Not everything is learned fast.” In bright, complex colors and patterns rendered in gouache and assembled digitally, Palacios (A Way with Wild Things) paints houses; shops with French-language signage; “walls, still standing” post-earthquake; and a warm, sociable Port-au-Prince community. The tale celebrates how, in Haitian society, strong women support their families (“The panye means we are graceful when the load is heavy. We are strong, even when the Earth is not. We are family, fed from love”). Spotlighting a preservation of matrilineal skills and a compassionate parent-child relationship, this rich portrait of a tight-knit, resilient community simultaneously serves as warm encouragement to persevere when learning a new skill. Ages 5–9. [em](Mar.) [/em]