Occasionally, you come across a book that is so good that you just can’t wait to share it with a class of students. This is one such book. It tells the moving story of two Caribbean families brought together by the tragedy of 9/11.
Elizabeth lives in the Dominican Republic. With her vivid imagination, she creates myth and magic wherever she goes. She only sees her Dad once a year, when he’s home from his job as a waiter in the Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the Twin Towers in Manhattan. Brothers Brandt and Jared live in Manhattan, because their Mum has moved from the Dominican Republic to work as a corporate lawyer in the World Trade Centre. On 9/11, all of their worlds change irrevocably.
The reader isn’t spared the raw grief of the children and adults as they deal with their loss. Brandt and Jared’s Mum survives and takes her boys home to the Caribbean, where she lives with her father, lost in the shadows of her grief. He, too, has his own pain and loss to carry, which emerges slowly during the story. In the end, it’s the children who teach the adults to dance in the rain, and help them discover how to carry on living even when their hearts and lives are so badly fractured.
Set in the beauty of the Dominican Republic, this is a story of bravery, resilience and a determination to become whole in the face of unbelievable pain. It’s a powerful narrative to help young teens confront the pain and meaning of loss, and to discover the dignity and power of the human soul when dealing with suffering.