I loved, loved, loved Ann E. Burg's verse novel, All the Broken Pieces. I was equally impressed with her newest verse novel: Serafina's Promise. This novel wowed me. I enjoy verse novels, but they don't always work for me as verse. Often, I feel, they might as well be written in prose. But that is not the case in Serafina's Promise. There were so many beautiful sentences, so many poetic, just-right sentences. The story itself is so compelling. But the way it is told, well, it's beautiful and incredible. I would love to see this book win something!
Serafina's Promise is set in Haiti. Serafina, our heroine, is a young girl who works hard alongside her family. She does not have any brothers or sisters to help her with the chores that have to be done. She doesn't have time to play with some of the other children, but, Serafina doesn't whine or complain. She dreams. She holds onto the hope that one day she WILL be a doctor. One way or another, she will make a difference in the lives of those around her. She will be able to fight against hunger and poverty and disease. She will save lives. Serafina longs to go to school. Her family cannot afford school or uniforms. But Serafina is determined and diligent. She will work even harder, do even more, to help her family save money--coins in a jar--so that her dream will come true.
I loved this one so much. It is one of those books I just want to tell everyone: READ THIS BOOK!!! I loved Serafina. I loved her family. I loved her grandmother, her mother, her father. I loved seeing the family scenes. Loved seeing Serafina with her new baby brother. This was a story to be felt and experienced. I cared so much about all the characters. (Serafina has a best friend, Julie Marie). It is a compelling, beautiful story--rich in detail. It is one of my favorites of the year.
When Papa talks,
the anger in Manman's eyes
like stingers soaked in honey (27)
I wonder what hunger is like
without a family
to fill the emptiness. (43)
A child who doesn't sleep at night
is a crocodile in the morning! (52)
are like the mosquitoes
at the ravine, so many
you could never count them
or get rid of them all. (81)
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews