Edwidge Danticat writes about Haiti with love and realism. With the picture book, Eight Days: A Story of Haiti they created a beautiful and sad story about a young boy trapped for over a week after the earthquake of Haiti a few years ago. However, this came out soon after the actual event, so it was timely. Now, one might have to explain the actual event, but sadly, we still have natural disasters, and this could be used to talk about them as well.
Based on what could have happened, it is a tug-at-your-heart-strings tale. Eight Days is not going to be an easy read. The text is formatted in an almost poetic prose but reads as a story. At first, I was unsure what was happening, having missed a line explaining that the child is using his mind to play as he is trapped; not doing the things mentioned. Therefore, a careful reading is recommended. On one hand, this could be for all ages. Yet, the fact the child is trapped under his house and there is a tragic (but sadly obvious to the adult) event that will not be suitable for younger or sensitive readers. Even though it is sad, the way it is presented is very sensitive and poetic; as is the entire book.
Alix Delinois’s illustrations captures the world of Haiti, the devastation created by the earthquake and the innocence of the child as he fights to stay alive, with things that comfort him the most. The colors are rich and expressive. And while they are realistic, they have a fantastical element that helps soften the story itself.