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Mama's nightingale : a story of immigration and separation
2015
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Author Notes
Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and came to America at age twelve to live with her parents in Brooklyn. She studied French literature at Barnard College and received her M.F.A. from Brown University. Her work has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994), her first novel and master's thesis, garnered Danticat a Granta Regional Award for Best Young American Novelist and was chosen as an Oprah Book Club selection, a singular honor. Her collection of short stories Krik? Krak! (1995) was nominated for the National Book Award. <p> Along with awards for fiction from Seventeen and Essence and the 1995 Pushcart Short Story Prize, Danticat was chosen by Harper's Bazaar as "one of 20 people in their twenties who will make a difference," and by the New York Times Magazine as one of "30 Under 30" people to watch. <p> Her second novel, The Farming of Bones (1998), concerns a massacre in Haiti in 1937. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
Fiction
Juvenile
Family
Topics
Multiculturalism
Parents
Family
Loss
Grief
Hope
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Danticat tells a serious yet hopeful story about a child whose Haitian mother is in an immigration detention center. Saya, whose hair is done up in tight braids with beads, visits her mother weekly but misses her terribly; she finds comfort in the bedtime stories her mother records on cassette tapes and sends her. Staub's oil paintings temper the upsetting circumstances with bright colors and whimsical objects from the stories Saya's mother tells, including winged hearts, dolphins, and mermaids. When Saya writes her own story and her father sends it to a journalist, the resulting chain of events brings Saya's mother home. Readers similarly separated from a loved one may well find solace in Danticat's honest storytelling. Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Inc. Illustrator's agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Brightly colored folk art with a Caribbean flair offsets the sadness of a little girl whose Haitian mother has been sent away to a prison for undocumented immigrants. Every night, Saya's father writes letters to the judges, their mayor and congresswoman, and newspapers and television stations, but no one ever writes back. During their weekly visits to the detention center, Saya's mother tells her stories of the wosiyòl, or nightingale. Soon, Saya begins to receive cassette tapes in the mail from her mother and finds hope and solace in the stories Mama has recorded for her. One night, amid a great deal of sadness and frustration, Saya writes a story of her own to ease the sadness. When Papa sends her letter to a newspaper reporter, everything changes, and Saya learns the incredible power of words and stories. Danticat, who was born in Haiti, was separated from her parents until she was 12 years old and beautifully conveys a story about loss and grief and hope and joy. Staub's oil paintings are eye-catching and will hold the interest of young readers. VERDICT This richly illustrated picture book is a first purchase, especially in communities with a large immigrant population.-Jennifer Steib Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
A touching tale of parent-child separation and immigration, from a National Book Award finalist After Saya's mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother's warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she's in jail, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother's tales and her father's attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own-one that just might bring her mother home for good. With stirring illustrations, this tender tale shows the human side of immigration and imprisonment-and shows how every child has the power to make a difference.
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