Behind the Mountains
By Edwidge Danticat
Published by First Person Fiction/Scholastic
“In this gem of a book, Danticat explores the modern immigrant experience through the eyes of one teen.” —School Library Journal
“…the author captures the color and texture of Haitian life as well as the heroine’s adjustment to New York.” —Publisher’s Weekly
It is election time in Haiti, and bombs are going off in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. During a visit from her home in rural Haiti, Celiane Espérance and her mother are nearly killed. Looking at her country with new eyes, Celiane gains a fresh resolve to be reunited with her father in Brooklyn, New York.
The harsh winter and concrete landscape of her new home are a shock to Celiane, who witnesses her parents’ struggle to earn a living, her brother’s uneasy adjustment to American society, and her own encounters with learning difficulties and school violence.
Writing in the notebook which her teacher gave her, thirteen-year-old Celiane describes life with her mother and brother in Haiti as well as her experiences in Brooklyn after the family finally immigrates there to be reunited with her father.
Reviews & Accolades
“…In graceful prose, Danticat seamlessly weaves together all that such a decision involves: the difficulties of rural life on the island and a longing for an absent parent combined with a fondness for her tiny mountain village…In this gem of a book, Danticat explores the modern immigrant experience through the eyes of one teen.” —School Library Journal
“…As with so many young people, Celiane feels torn between the love of her homeland and those who live there, and the love of her father who has left to try to build a better life for his family elsewhere. It is an old story that has been told many times before, yet Edwidge Dandicat has succeeded in telling Celiane’s story in such a way that it is fresh and poignant, bittersweet and heartwarming…Reading about such a state of affairs is a grim reminder of how many people in other parts of the world must live their lives day after day. Drawing on her personal memories and from material that she gathered on her more recent trips back to Haiti, Edwidge Dandicat has created a memorable book which will give anyone who reads it a picture of a culture that is vibrant, warm and colorful. It shows us the world of a people who struggle to find peace and stability in their daily lives.“ —Marya Jansen-Gruber, Children’s Literature
“…the author captures the color and texture of Haitian life as well as the heroine’s adjustment to New York. While readers may want to hear more about her experiences in Brooklyn, they will appreciate the truthfulness of the family’s struggle to reconnect” —Publisher’s Weekly
Immigration, political violence, family relationships
Beau Jour, Haiti
Brooklyn, New York
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