The author and illustrators were intentional to reflect the diversity of francophone speakers. The biographies reflect identities from an empowered perspective and framework. There is a diversity of racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and national identities portrayed in the series. Tarini is also mindful not to limit identities in French colonization, identifying people by their ethnic backgrounds that pre-exist their francophone identities.
While the story is about Jean-Christophe and him navigating his difficult love life while discovering that werewolves really do exist, the author also provides the reader with a lot of informational nuggets about New Orleans and its rich history, for example the Cajun people, the Acadians, and Mardis Gras with its festivals and floats. However, nothing is said about the rich influence and presence of the Creole and Black Creole cultures in New-Orleans which erases the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of this city.
This book frames Mauritania and Mauritanians within a deficit-lense of miserabilism. Additionally, not only Fama has to endure the racist comments of her white American classmate, but she is also gaslighted by her American family who tells her that what she has been through is nothing and that she should hang out with nicer people. In other words, racism is whitewashed, Fama’s emotions are ignored, and her American family is complicit by staying silent and neutral. This complicity is prevalent throughout the book.
Le Manoir de la Dentiste is appropriate for beginner to intermediate students.. Throughout the book, new vocabulary is presented in bold letters so students can reference the meaning in the glossary, which is separated by the pages on which they appear. Also, it is worth noting that the comic-book style presentation of the illustrations throughout are well done and will help the students follow along with the story and keep their attention.
Ben’s family, and at some point Ben himself, suffer from a White saviorism complex: the Haitian people cannot overcome the aftermath of the earthquake without the benevolent intervention of White people who will be building homes for them. Perhaps worse, the trip to Haiti is viewed as a “life experience”, an opportunity to learn about self by helping poor people. His parents say on p. 7 “ This year your (birthday) gift is an experience. A life experience (…). You are going to Haiti to help the poor.”
La Lettre showcases teenage insecurities and what happens a lot of times in real life for teenagers who are dealing with their sexuality and how scary it can be to discover certain feelings and not know what to do or how to deal with them.
The description on the TPRSBooks website mentions that “the novel contains a lot of interesting cultural material.’’ However, the cultural products and practices are limited to a few touristic spots and the mention of the Creole language.
From the start of the book, we see that Jean-Paul is a typical 11-year old student that is bored with school and with his teachers and that he would rather be in numerous other places. Jean-Paul is presented as a hyper-confident young man. In contrast, Pascale’s role in the story is to follow Jean-Paul. While she is Jean-Paul’s best friend, she is described as “ugly” (as a joke) and has little agency throughout the story.
Les Découvertes Incroyables is a fictional story with plenty of twists and turns. One of the characters is disabled. She is “saved” from her disability by her non-disabled family members and only gains agency when she becomes non-disabled.