Written by Edwidge Danticat, “Eight Days- A Story of Haiti” is told through the eyes of Junior. Junior is a seven year-old boy who was trapped underneath his home as a result of the Port-au-Prince earthquake in Haiti. The book begins with Junior talking about when he was removed from under his house after eight days and all of the questions that he was asked, such as if he cried and if he was afraid. When discussing his feelings while being trapped, he says, “but in my mind, i played.” The book then continues with Junior retelling the games he played and the friends whom he met day by day while trapped underneath his home. It is evident throughout the story that Junior’s sense of imagination is what really allows him to get through those long eight days.
Alix Delinois’ illustrations in the book instill a feeling of hope and courage among the readers. His use of vibrant colors go along with Junior’s imagination and portray the idea that the terrible disaster will eventually end. The situation is not illustrated as a depressing one, but instead as one that made Junior and his family closer, and one that allowed Junior to overcome his feelings of nervousness by his imagination and hope.
I think that both young children and older children would enjoy this book. Younger children would enjoy the colors of the illustrations. They would be able to relate to the illustrations of Junior and his family and friends. I also found that while I was reading the book that I forgot that Junior was recounting his time underneath his home. It is written in such a way that one could get the feeling that the book is one about Junior and the fun that he has with his family and friends. I think young kids would really enjoy this and be able to relate to it, especially the activity on the seventh day in which Junior and Justine had a bicycle race. This is a typical activity that children take part in. Older children would enjoy this book for its messages. I personally enjoyed it because I developed such an admiration for Junior and the strength and hope that he maintained throughout such a difficult period. I think that adolescents will develop sympathy for Junior and this would lead to a good class discussion on not only the situation in Haiti, but also on similar situations. I think it would help children who went through Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters to read this book because it will inspire them that there is hope and things will get better if they maintain a sense of hope and make the best of the situation.