Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hurricane Child

32056397Callender, Kheryn. Hurricane Child
March 27th 2018 by Scholastic
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Caroline Murphy lives in the US Virgin Islands, and is considered unlucky because she was born during a hurricane. Her life certainly bears out this assertion-- her mother has left the family, her father's slightly younger illegitimate daughter has moved nearby, and she is always in trouble at school. She does have an ally in the principal of her school, who knew her mother, but not only are the other students mean to her, her classroom teacher is as well. When a new student, Kalinda, arrives at the school, Caroline tries to befriend her and later realizes that she is interested in her romantically. Since this is frowned upon by their religion and culture, the girls worry about it. Caroline sees ghostly figures around, and eventually this encourages her to find her mother and learn the mystery of her family situation.
Strengths: This is a great #ownvoices novel, and Callender does a great job of showing what life can be like in St. Thomas. The details of food, school, travel, and general daily life are fascinating. It's good for students in the US to get a glimpse of what life is like in other parts of the world.
Weaknesses: Unfortunately, some people are treated in what we consider to be mean ways in other parts of the world. Caroline's dark skin is disparaged, and many people in her life treat her meanly. Her relationship with Kalinda is heartbreaking because of the overshadowing social mores. While this is certainly a reality of which my students need to be aware, I think they might require more explanations in order to understand that this is the way the culture sees Caroline, and not the way they should feel about their own skin, family situation, or sexual preferences.
What I really think: I am very conflicted about this book. I would like to purchase it, but worry it will make my students feel bad about themselves.

Ms. Yingling

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