Written by Francie Latour | Illustrated by Ken Daley | Published by Groundwood Books
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the technical aspects of this book. The experts are the book creators. The following comments are my opinions.
Did you fall into your identity by happenstance? Or did someone help you? Are you still searching?
Different people helped me find myself and where my heart belongs. My biggest influencer was my grandmother who I visited annually in St. Vincent—similar to the main character (MC) of this book who was born in America to Haitian parents and visited her Auntie Luce in Haiti every December.
AUNTIE LUCE’S TALKING PAINTINGS is an AMAZING book that does a fantastic job of weaving Haitian history, culture, and terrain into the MC’s journey in realizing her identity and where her heart belongs.
Francie Latour’s word choice and Ken Daley’s illustrations will transport you to Haiti and make you feel like you’re in a world that stimulates your senses beautifully.
Theme: Know who you are
Point of View: 1st person
Tense: Present tense
External Journey: To be painted like the personal and national Haitian heroes in the talking paintings
Internal Journey: To be Haitian. It is through Auntie’s painting, she sees Haiti in herself.
Character Arc: Uncertain to certain of who she is..
Story Arc: Undetermined.
Story Structure: The portrait: an exploration of a character or a place. Often sentimental or nostalgic. Fitting for this painting-centered story.
Story Start | End: The story is bookended by paintings of the MC. For the painting in the beginning, her eyes are closed, unaware of her personal truth. Also, the similes used to describe her facial features are somewhat generic. For the painting toward the end, she awakens. The similes become specific to her family and country’s history.
Pacing: Oftentimes, questions are used before page turns—perhaps to slow the pace to get the reader to pause, thinking about poignant or tender moments.
Dialogue: Mostly used for Q&A between the MC and Auntie Luce to help the MC learn about Haiti—Its people and land.
Illustration: See “Story Start | End” section above to see an illustration note.