Arnold, Marie

The Year I Flew Away

(2) 4-6 Arnold presents an accessible and relatable immigration story, engagingly interwoven with magic. Holding the hope of her family on her shoulders, ten-year-old Gabrielle is determined to be on her best behavior when she leaves her home in Haiti for the "heaven" of America, moving in with her uncle and his family in Brooklyn. However, she realizes that life in the U.S. is not as magical as she had anticipated: her English is limited, her hair doesn't flow like it does for the girls on TV, and her clothing stands out. All she wants is to be a regular American girl. Seeing her desire to fit in, an evil witch, Lady Lydia, offers Gabrielle a deal. The witch will grant her three wishes, but, with each wish, ­Gabrielle will lose some "small, insignificant" thing--a strand of hair, a sock. Although that seems like a harmless exchange, Gabrielle soon realizes that her desire to be "­American" will cost her much more than she'd bargained for, and she must decide how much she is willing to lose in order to belong. Although the pacing is somewhat uneven at the end, the book presents an engrossing story of self-acceptance and ­self-discovery and will appeal to readers who enjoyed Callender's Hurricane Child (rev. 5/18).


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