Jukebooks: Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner

HoldTightBefore the earthquake, Magdalie was a fifteen year-old girl living with her aunt and beloved cousin, Nadine. After the earthquake, Magdalie and Nadine were everything to each other. The survival of each became entwined with the other. They dreamed of the day that they would travel to Miami together, how they would go see movies, get belly piercings, and live in air conditioning. Too soon, Nadine gets the chance to leave. Magdalie can only try to save money and hope that she will also leave her homeland, if that indeed becomes her choice.

So what kind of music do Haitian kids listen to? Magdalie and Nadine like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Beyonce. Of special interest is the ring tone Nadine has for a special boy friend: “Je lui dirai,” sung by Celine Dion. This emphasizes the French influence on two very different cultures – Quebec and Haiti. The novel weaves together the languages of Haiti – English, Creole, and French. The musical tastes of Magdalie and Nadine embrace popular music from all of these influences.

Diane Colson, currently reading an advance reader’s copy of The Truth Commission by Susan Juby.