Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite starts out with a lot of humor about a Haitian American girl, Alaine Beauparlant, working on a Latin American history project on Haiti's history. Two of my favorite things--history and humor. I was psyched. The story veers off to dealing with Alaine's mother's health, her aunt's high-level work in Haitian government, a family curse, and a college boy. It was a little trop pour moi. But on the other hand, that's how a lot of YA books are. They're piled with many elements.
As exposure to another culture, though, Dear Haiti works very well. There's some French, there's more Creole, there's food, there's a lot of beautiful scenery. There's good presentation on the wealth versus poverty aspect of the country. The book definitely left this reader interested in Haiti.
Since my focus this week has been on language and culture, I'm going to bring up a point about the main character's last name, Beauparlant. I read that as meaning something like beautiful talk. And, sure enough, it's a surname meaning "fine speaking." Alaine is the daughter of a well-known on-air journalist with plans to become a journalist, herself. An excellent name for her. I spend a lot of time sweating over the names for my characters. I found this one very apt.
A La Francophonie Day Roundup
Links to this week's La Francophonie Day posts here at Original Content:
A Break From Angst To Celebrate La Francophonie Day
La Francophonie Day: Manon Gauthier
La Francophonie Day: Who Left The Lights On?