(a poem from Maríe-Andriele Charlot)
This morning, the New York Times Best Illustrated Books list for 2014 was announced. It’s here. I get excited every Fall about this list. If you love picture books, it’s a kick to see these lists, because how often are picture books celebrated on a national scale? I was happy to wake up and see the list had been announced.
You can see 2014 posts about nearly all of these books in the 7-Imp archives, but this morning I highlight one book I was particularly happy to see on this list, which I hadn’t yet blogged about. In fact, just yesterday I had connected with the publisher, thanks to wonderful Ellen Myrick of Myrick Marketing and Media, to try to secure some illustrations from the book to feature here at 7-Imp, because I really like it. And this morning, those images came through, so what good timing. Enjoy the art today! And congrats to the illustrator for being on the NYTimes list.
The book is called Haiti, My Country. Originally published in 2010, this English edition (March 2014) comes to us by way of Fifth House Publishers. It was illustrated by a Canadian artist, name Rogé. You can see more of his beautiful work here. The book is a series of poems, written by young people of Camp-Perrin in Haiti. For several months, the illustrator, who lives in Quebec and who was evidently awarded the Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration in 2006, worked on these portraits. The book primarily focuses on the joy in their lives, though as the publisher writes so vividly, “misery often storms through Haiti” (earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters). There are some exceptions, such as with the striking short poem: “Magnificent country becomes / Broken land / All smiles are lost.” But, as one young poet writes, there is always hope: “On the distant horizon, the sun disappears / To refresh our souls. / We observe the sea and the sky / In harmony, awaking tenderness within us.”
Here’s another illustration:
(a poem from Lordanie Théodore)
HAITI: MY COUNTRY. English translation copyright © 2014, Fifth House Publishers. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher.