Ibi Zoboi’s American Street

In the neighborhood where I live, a cardboard stork makes its way to the front lawn of new moms and dads. The stork holds from its bill a sign that advertises the name, sex, birthday, and birth weight of the newborn. We drive past the stork on our way to work, acknowledging the child and wishing that the world proves to be a kind, welcoming, and safe place for him/her to flourish.

You and I don’t live in the same neighborhood, but technology has made us neighbors. Let me tell you about a newborn that greeted us on Valentine’s Day. The new mom’s name is Ibi Zoboi. If you have not heard of her, you will. Trust me. The baby’s name is American Street.

Ibi is a staunch supporter of the marginalized. Tears leak out of her eyes, when she contemplates how her birthplace, Haiti, is consistently demonized. She redeems her homeland through the fearlessness of her protagonist, Fabiola Toussaint, a black girl whose mother is detained by the immigration police. Fabiola, whose namesake is Toussaint Louverture—the fearless leader of Haiti’s successful slave revolution—must go home alone to make sense out of her hostile world. She meets challenges no child should; negotiates Detroit’s punishing streets, to emerge as the heroine we will come to love.

This young adult novel will make you believe, once again, in a girl’s power to endure and thrive. Kirkus Review puts it this way: “[American Street] will take root in readers’ hearts.” In these days of “extreme vetting,” this book about the immigrant experience could not be timelier. Run to your favorite bookstore, and get a copy for yourself and one for your best friend(s). Spread the word on social media. Let’s make Fabiola Toussaint the star she deserves to be.

By the way, I’ve been accused of being able to “see into the future.” If that were true, I would have done many things differently. However, something tells me American Street is destined for greatness.  I see a movie in its future. I see Fabiola Toussaint’s face on lunch boxes and mouse pads. I see a television series. I see children all over the world being inspired to be bold and heroic. I see a promising future.

Great job, Ibi! I cannot wait for the next book

Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immigrated to the U.S. when she was four years old. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she was a recipient of the Norma Fox Mazer Award. Her award-winning and Pushcart-nominated writing has been published in Haiti Noir, the Caribbean Writer, The New York Times Book Review, the Horn Book Magazine, and The Rumpus, among others. Her debut YA novel AMERICAN STREET (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins) is due out in Winter 2017. Her debut Middle Grade novel, MY LIFE AS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH (Dutton/Penguin), is forthcoming.


The events of the past few months have shaken us to the core. The world holds its breath, hoping against hope that the nightmare will end. The sun shines a bit brighter this Tuesday, though. People are wearing their hearts on their sleeves, literally.

Friends on social media publish encouraging messages about the different types of love they have for one another: sacrificial love, fast-burning love, sustainable love. The posts that carry the most meaning remind us that every day brings with it a chance to celebrate family and friends.  Just as every month is African-American History month, every day is an opportunity to give and receive the one thing that will transcend all the hatred bubbling, like lava, around us.

Love always triumphs. After all these years, can you believe there’s still no app for it?

Viv lanmou!

Hello 2017

While many around the world celebrate Epiphany today, hell broke loose in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My heart goes out to the people of the world, especially to the victims and their families.  We’re just getting started with 2017; I say we make believe it’s really a clean slate, and start following the Golden Rule.

“Death is ill-bred.  Like an uninvited guest, it sneaks into homes to crash the most intimate gatherings. It hovers and salivates, waiting, like a rabid cur.” READ MORE HERE

Happy New Year, remember?


213 and Counting ~ Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy Independence Day!

You made it to this place called Here.  Yes, you did.

Freedom is 213 years old today.

We remember the brave ones who fought for Haiti’s independence.

We thank them for t he blood they shed.

Let us repay them by working together to make our country all that it deserves to be.

I hope you spent time with family today.

I hope  loved-ones surround you forever.

I hope you are healthy.

I hope your home is warm in the winter and breezes comfort you during sweltering days.

I hope your children smile without a reason.

I hope you write down those priceless stories the elders lavish on you.

I hope you have clean water to drink.

I hope your pantry stays full.

I hope the children of the world forget that thing called hunger.

I hope they go to school with starched uniforms and books that are not borrowed.

I hope there is light enough to let students study after the sun takes away its own.

I hope hurricanes don’t come.

And if they do–for they must–I hope they leave Haiti intact

I hope the mountains don’t melt.

I hope trees grow and every seed yields a bountiful harvest.

I hope you  are safe.

I hope there is peace everywhere on our one Earth.

I hope you believe you can make a difference.

I hope your dreams come true.

I hope you remember to celebrate the gift you are.

I hope you laugh.

I hope you dance.

I hope you know you are beautiful.

And you are still here.




We are Beautiful and We Are Here