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Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/15/2013 Serafina is an 11-year-old Haitian struggling to keep her dream of becoming a doctor alive. Living in a desolate mountain village, Serafina toils at her daily chores while planning to attend school in the requisite uniform and shoes. Serafina has a warm family, a true friend in Julie Marie, and an encouraging woman doctor, who all come to support her vision. Then a flood washes away the family home, and the roaring stampede of an earthquake devastates the city of Port-au-Prince, where Serafina’s father works and Julie Marie lives. In this novel in verse, the author of the acclaimed All the Broken Pieces (2009) uses a lush narrative bouquet, filled with blooms of quiet verse, rhythmic Creole, and Haitian proverbs and sayings that capture life’s poignancy and hardships, including a message that Serafina has learned from an early age: “If you want your eggs to hatch, sit on them yourself.” In Burg’s lyrical tale, Serafina is a force of nature in her own right who carries her family, friends, and dreams to safe ground. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2013 Gr 4–6—Serafina is just 11, but she fetches water from a stream every day and helps her family add to the coin jar by bundling the herbs her mother and grandmother sell. She has witnessed the death of her infant brother, wishing and wondering if she could have done more to save him. Told in verse, this first-person account of a young girl's life in Haiti is filled with sadness and the harsh realities of poverty, yet the poetic narrative sings of hope and promise. Inspired by Antoinette Solaine, the doctor who attends to her dying brother, Serafina vows to find a way to go to school and one day help others. But who would bring the water and help Manman with the chores? And the few coins in the jar do not come close to the cost of a school uniform and shoes. The story unfolds as the family, already victims of political unrest, now faces natural disasters and separation. Serafina, always the healer, rises above obstacles and hardship, keeping her dreams and her promises close at hand. A powerful and uplifting story of family and sacrifice, perfect even for reluctant readers.—Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.