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Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  250 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Every winter, a young girl flies to Haiti to visit her Auntie Luce, a painter.

The moment she steps off the plane, she feels a wall of heat, and familiar sights soon follow — the boys selling water ice by the pink cathedral, the tap tap buses in the busy streets, the fog and steep winding road to her aunt’s home in the mountains.

The girl has always loved Auntie Luce’s paint
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published October 1st 2018 by Groundwood Books
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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I LOVE the colors of this book. Wow, it’s colorful and beautiful. The colors sparkle and shimmer and dazzle my eye.

The story is about Haiti, a place I know little about. A young girl has her aunt, an artist, paint her portrait each year. She leaves her home in the snow and goes to Haiti in the heat to visit her aunt in Haiti. We learn some of Haiti’s history from the paintings she looks at that the aunt has drawn. There is also a short page in the back by the author about the history of Haiti.
Age: K-3rd grade
Art: Acrylic, Painter
Family: Aunt and niece
History: Haitian revolution
Identity: Haitian American protagonist, Haitian Aunt
Our Voices: Haitian American author, Dominican Canadian illustrator
Tough Issue: Revolution, mixed cultural identities

Every winter, Auntie Luce welcomes her American niece back to her home in Haiti. Affectionately called "Ti Chou," she fondly connects with Auntie Luce's paintings, especially portraits of herself that hold colors that she has never seen in a mir
Margarita Rodriguez
For this book, I decided to make a text-to-world connection. Making a text-to-world connection is making a connection between the text and real-world happenings in present time or in history. This book is told in the perspective of a Haiti-American girl who retells her memory of the first time her aunt in Haiti painted a portrait of her. Through this memory she portrays Haiti in a different light, a more positive one that shares its beauty and the struggle. Haiti is often portrayed in media as a ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations were gorgeous and authentic! They resembled the paintings I fell in love with as a child! I am Haitian American, and would have loved a children's book like this as a kid. Such a beautiful way to educate and instill pride. Whether the child is of Haitian Descent or not; this would we be great to expose your child to other cultures. Loved <3 ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully illustrated family story with a peek into the history of Haiti. Recommended for ages 6-9.
Patricia N. McLaughlin
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A bit text heavy, but a compelling story about a girl’s visit to her Auntie Luce’s home in Haiti with colorful illustrations and a painterly version of Haitian history.
Ashley Goyco
Text-to-Text Connection:
The young girl from this story reminds me of the author, Diana Abu-Jaber. In her memoir, The Language of Baklava, Diana Abu-Jaber documents her life as a Jordanian American through her memories of food. At different points in the novel, Abu-Jaber struggles with feeling not American enough and not Jordanian enough. In this story, the young girl struggles with not feeling Haitian enough and not American enough. Both protagonists feel displaced by having two cultures because
A bright, vibrant story on how to pass on one's culture and heritage to the next generation. The world of Haiti as seen through the eyes of a young Haitian American girl, a world that is far different from the Haiti others often chose to see. ...more
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A little girl heads to Haiti from her home in America to visit her Auntie Luce, a painter. The girl has sat for a painting year after year since she was seven and first visited. She leaves the snow and cold behind for the tropical world of Haiti with its heat, bright buses, pink cathedral and green hills. She asks her aunt why she never left Haiti, and her aunt explains that she wants to stay in Haiti her entire life and that she is simply different than the girl’s mother who moved to America. T ...more
So often, we read and hear about the great poverty in Haiti, which makes this picture book a good addition to a classroom collection since it challenges those assumptions about the country. In this book, a young girl describes how she visits her aunt, Luce, in Haiti during the winter months. Her aunt chose not to leave the island when the girl's parents moved away. Not only is her aunt a painter, but she is eager to share her paintings and her perspective on the country's history with her niece. ...more
Margaret Boling
3/23/2019 ~ Stunning illustrations and an interesting look at Haiti from the perspective of a child whose parents emigrated to the U.S. This is definitely not a book for primary aged children, due to the length of the text and the abstract references to Haiti's history. The story grapples with some of the reasons that people emigrate or choose not to; also, the loss when families are split. I currently have two girls whose parents recently came to the U.S. from Haiti; I look forward to sharing t ...more
I learned that I have a lot more to learn about Haiti. One stunning fact for me from the Author's Note:

"From the moment this Black republic was born, it was totally alone in the world. No country would trade with it or even recognize it as a nation. To get that recognition, Haiti had to sign a deal that guaranteed a future of poverty. It was forced to pay hundreds of millions to the French for the property they lost in war - an amount that today is worth about $20 billion. That lost property in
This book made the USBBY Outstanding International Books List for 2019. It was inspired when the Haitian born author met the famous Haitian artist Luce Turner. Luce Turner painted her portrait. The artwork in this book perfectly matches the story, a story of Aunt Luce's love of her Island home and how it inspired her to paint. It is a story about a little girl getting to know family roots and hearing family accounts of historical events by the people who live there. This would make a great socia ...more
Juliana Lee
A little American girl learns her Haitian history through her Auntie Luce's paintings. Every winter she goes to Haiti to spend time with her aunt who teaches her about her personal family and country's history. ...more
Robyn Schultz (ladyrobyns)
This is not just a story about a young girl visiting her Auntie, who is an amazing painter. It's a story about where you come from and how that influences where you are going.

The art by Ken Daley is too die for! A riot of color, and texture and form.
The art is gorgeous and the story has an interesting hook - the birth of Haiti, and the roots of an American girl whose family is still there - but the writing is bland and too descriptive for a young reader to get.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has a lot to unpack, but it's worth it - art, history, art history, family, identity, politics, relationships, and more. It's all in there!
It's a bit wordy, but it has a lot of power as far as knowing who you are and where you came from.
Alyssa Gudenburr
A beautiful story about a Haitian-American girl who learns about her culture through her aunt's paintings. Shows the hard truths and the beauty of Haiti. ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully told cultural story of Haiti. And the illustrations are amazing.
Nadia L. Hohn
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous illustrations. Amazing story. Rich history. An ode to Haiti.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book
Saturated paintings reflect a colorful family relationship and some of Haiti's history. The story is heartfelt but there is too much small text on each page. ...more
Wendy Kuzma
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This a great story for children about Haitian history and culture.
Julie Esanu
A love letter to Haiti...
Solange Guillen
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, read2019
“To paint Haiti takes the darkest colors and the brightest ones, and all the colors in between.”
May 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"...These colors, this people, this place belongs to you. And you belong to them, always."

Auntie Luce's Talking Paintings is a fantastic international children's book. It tells the story of a young Haitian American girl (she is unnamed) who remembers the first time her Aunt Luce paints her a portrait. She recalls a visit she made to Haiti at the age of seven, and the first thing she says to her aunt, the first question she always asks is, "Can I sit for you, Auntie Luce? Will you paint me this t
Jess Bergoine
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Summary: A young girl visits her Auntie Luce in Haiti every winter and is always comforted by the familiar sights when she arrives. One of the young girls' favorite things is to admire her Auntie Luce's paintings, which are inspired by Haitian culture. During this visit, Aunt Luce will paint a portrait of the young girl, and help her see who she is.

Review: I do not know very much about Haitian culture, but this picture book highlights the beauty of this Caribbean country! The illustrations are
Published by Canadian Groundwood Books, Francie Latour's book is one of the 2019 Outstanding International titles. A young girl travels to Haiti to visit her Auntie Luce, who is a painter. Ken Daley's illustrations highlight the bright colors of the island. These are the colors that Auntie Luce uses in her work. The girl begins to understand Haiti when learning about the history of the county's independence. The author had met Luce Turnier, who was one of Haiti's most celebrated female artists. ...more
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
History: Haitian revolution
Tough Issue: Revolution, mixed cultural identities

Every winter, Auntie Luce welcomes her American niece back to her home in Haiti. Affectionately called "Ti Chou," she fondly connects with Auntie Luce's paintings, especially portraits of herself that hold colors that she has never seen in a mirror. Auntie Luce explains that painting allows her "to remember what I've seen and heard and smelled and felt" including the past and present of Haitian life.

Through a loving dia
Victoria Davis
Text-To-Self: I could see myself in this story because I use to love to go and spend time with my aunt when I was a child. I remember learning so much from her and I loved the time I got to spend with her, just like the girl in the story can remember and enjoyed her time with her aunt.

Text-To-Text: I connected this story to the book Islandborn because both girls in the story wanted to know about their past. They asked the people around them for information because they were not able to remember
Gail Sacharski
Jul 21, 2022 rated it really liked it
A beautifully illustrated book in the cultural series about a young girl visiting her aunt in Haiti. She now lives in America with her family, but enjoys spending part of her winter in Haiti where her aunt is an artist. Aunt Luce is her mother's sister & has a very great love for her Haitian heritage which she shows in her paintings. Many are of the leaders & heroes of the Haitian revolution that made Haiti the first independent black nation after winning their freedom from Napoleon's France. Wi ...more
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