CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 12. . . .November 20, 2009
Where Rivers Meet recounts the life of Dr. Saint Firmin Monestime, a Haitian immigrant who overcame all odds to become first a doctor then mayor of Mattawa, Ontario. Although not a children’s book, it is reviewed here because of its relevance to Black History and usefulness in school libraries, especially at the secondary level.
Abundant with photos, the book’s format is accessible to young people, but its description of the politics of Canada and of Haiti is obviously written with an adult audience in mind. Monestime’s humanity, his love for people, and his almost wilful ignorance of the pervading racism of the time are depicted very clearly, and he is presented as the prototype Canadian for a multicultural age. Unfortunately, the writing style is very awkward, and there are a number of spelling and grammatical errors, especially in French proper names. The author’s fairly cavalier use of the word “genocide” to describe Haitian events in the 1930s is also problematic for young people.
Recommended with reservations.
Todd Kyle is a former President of the Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians who is currently a branch manager in Mississauga, ON.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.