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Author: Burg, Ann E.
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year Published: 2013
ISBN: 978-0-545-53564-9
Grades: Grade 10, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Teacher Resource

Serafina’s Promise

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Serafina, an eleven year old girl, survives a life in Haiti by her tenacious spirit, despite her personal, intimate experiences with poverty, death, floods and an earthquake. Serafina wants to attend school and become a doctor, after watching her baby brother die but her family cannot afford to send her to school. Instead, her days are filled with getting water, cleaning the family’s hut and helping her mother, who is expecting another baby. The wisdom of her Gogo, (Grandmother), practical advice of her realist mother and cheerful, encouraging father, guide her towards the promise she makes to herself to overcome all these obstacles to attain an education, which she recognizes is the key to help her family and her Creole community. Told in her personal voice, and alternating italicized conversation with other characters, this story is beautifully told in poetic prose. This book is one of hope including positive and negative consequences of working towards a goal. This book is an excellent read-aloud for mid-elementary students, addressing the topics the quality of life, global issues and goal setting. It will make for a rich discussion of social and economic issues in poverty stricken countries, like Haiti, as well as foster a sense of empathy and wanting to become active in helping the global community.

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