Sareen is attending her first sit-up, a Jamaican tradition that celebrates the life of a loved one who has died. The whole village has come to share memories of Sareen’s Nana. Sareen wants to tell her stories of Nana’s last mango season and their search for the perfect mango, but she’s afraid the words won’t come or that she’ll begin to cry. It’s only when Sareen faces her fear that she realizes it’s not the sadness of Nana’s death that she’ll remember best but the joy of Nana’s life.
Set amid the rich culture and lush scenery of Jamaica, this moving book offers the hope of rediscovering joy after a loss and pays tribute to the remarkable power of story: to touch, to connect, and to heal.
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Regina Hanson is the author of The Tangerine Tree and The Face at the Window, winner of the Américas Award for Children’s Literature. Born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, she now lives in Boulder, Colorado.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 4–A girl in modern Jamaica recounts her feelings during the all-night "sit-up"–a kind of wake–to honor her grandmother who has died. Nervous about sharing her memories in front of everyone who has gathered in her family's yard to share food and favorite stories about and for the deceased, Sareen is comforted and encouraged by her twin brother and parents; in the end, she gathers her courage and tells, through her tears, about Nana's love of mangoes and joy in life, which prompt stories of her sometimes-comical efforts to find the sweetest mango for her sick grandmother. Delighted that she's been able to take part in the ceremony, Sareen joins in the culminating sunrise dance. Rich, naturalistic, full-color oil paintings fill the pages. They reflect emotions well, succeeding most often in their close-up, almost portraitlike faces. The art is less effective in stiff, more distant action or group scenes. The people are seen from a variety of perspectives under dark, midnight-blue tropical skies. The stories-within-the-story are framed in orange, helping to clarify time and action. An author's note explains a bit of the country's history, food, and folklore about death. The genuine emotion, details of life, and focus on the value of storytelling make this a useful addition.–Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA
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Book Description Clarion Books, New York, NY. USA, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Velasquez, Eric (illustrator). 1st Edition. 1st edition/1st printing. Bookseller Inventory # 009424
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