So, during this blizzard, I needed something to read, and I checked my nook, and In Darkness had been downloaded. Not sure when I downloaded it, but I am happy that I did.
This fictional novel is set in Haiti, and it goes back and forth between, Shorty, a boy of fifteen who is trapped in a building after the Haitian earthquake of 2010 and Toussaint l’Ouverture, the eighteenth-century slave who led Haiti to freedom from the French. The spirit of Toussaint will not die, and it comes back as Dread Wilme, a popular community leader in Haiti who was killed by the UN, and then it comes back as Shorty.
Shorty’s life story is told from the 1st person point-of-view, and he relays his story as if he is talking to the reader. I felt like I was being let in on a secret, and this drew me in to Shorty’s story right away: “I am the voice in the dark, calling out for your help.” From Shorty, we hear a lot about his life and the life of many of the other people in his town of Site Soley.
Then, the reader is taken to the life of Toussaint, and he is shown as just a common man who acted through his fears to successfully lead ‘his people’ to freedom. I left this book wanting to know more about Toussaint, and you know I did some reading about him. And, according to my readings, Lake was quite accurate in portraying the history of Toussaint and Haiti.
Lake wrote this book for Young Adult Readers, and I think that this is a perfect book to be taught in schools to diversify the curriculum. This novel infuses lots of hip-hop that I think that children will appreciate; this book is relevant. Also, a teacher can use this text to go into the history of Haiti and what makes a hero. This book could also be a perfect springboard to talk about the Haitian earthquake of 2010, and of course, this book is full of passages that would be great for close readings. I became quite excited thinking about the writings that this book could inspire.
If you love history and a great story, then this is the book for you....
A few more snow days off, and I will tackle Ruby by Cynthia Bond!