By Marlene Rigaud Apollon
Coconut Creek, Fl.: Educa Vision, Inc., 2001.

Comments of Bob Corbett
October 2002

Arthor Marlene Appollon tells us in the forwards that these two books are for children, and so they are. However, both books will serve a most welcomed second purpose: nice, easy first introductions to Haiti, and Haitian art for foreigners. Even more important the works are naturals for English speakers wishing to practice their Creole, or Haitians wishing to practice English.

The Haiti Trivia book has short chapters on geography, history, maps, cities, important people and some odds and ends. Each section is written three different times, in English, French and Haitian Creole.

Then each chapter is followed by a set of questions in each of the three languages (and thus the title “trivia.”) Finally each set of questions is followed by the answers in each language.

Haitian Art Trivia is much the same structure except that French does not appear, only English and Creole.

Despite the fact that the book is intended for young children, it’s an excellent introduction to Haitian art, going beyond the general view that the world of Haitian art began only in 1944. We first read of some bits of art in early Haiti. A second theme is Haitian painting as a mode of recording history. Other chapters are on painting as a record of everyday life, images of children and young people, a chapter on religion and another on the worlds of nature and fantasy.

The structure of the other book is followed: first instruction, then questions, and finally answers.

The art book has a few decent color illustrations and is appealing for such an inexpensive book.

Earlier I emphasized the attraction these book might hold for adults learning about Haiti, or especially those learning Haitian Creole. However, I don’t mean in the slightest to denigrate these as children’s book, which is their main intent. They certainly are that and well done for younger children, presenting Haiti and Haitian art in simple and appealing language.

These books are yet a continuing testimony to the wonderful work of Educa Vision, Inc. to bring Haiti and Haitian language to the U.S. reader.

Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu

Becoming Reading Thinking Journals


Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu