Monday, July 8, 2013

Novel in Verse: Serafina's Promise

Serfina's Promise
by Ann E. Burg
Scholastic Press
304 pages

Available October 2013

(image from author's website)

Poignant, beautiful, and precious, Serafina's Promise tells the story of extreme poverty and hardship through the eyes of eleven-year-old Serafina. Serafina longs to play games and run around with her friends but her family needs her to haul water several times a day. Her Manman and Gogo depend on her. There is no one else to do all the chores. Papa works in Port-au-Prince, miles from their home.

Serafina dreams of going to school to learn how to write and read. She wants to become a doctor and save sick babies, like her little brother who died. She knows she has to convince her parents that she must go to school. There is no money for school uniforms or pencils, but Serafina decides that she will work for the money somehow.

A flood destroys their village and their home. They have lost everything but they still have each other. Serafina's dream is put on hold until the family clears land and rebuilds. A series of tragedies does little to hinder this young girl's spirit, and Serafina begins to realize her dream.

Written in verse (similar to Out of the Dust by Hesse), Serafina's Promise is an easy read for reluctant readers and sure to please those readers who love poetry. Young readers will gain insight into a country they may never have known about--Haiti--with its poverty, hunger, and tragedy. Ann E. Burk is donating a portion of her royalties to Haitian People's Support Project and Pure Water for the World.

Highly, highly recommended for middle grades 4-up. Add this to any collection of free verse and poetry.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at

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