My Day With the Panye


On their walk to market, Fallon observes, ‘Manman is talll like an arrow pointing to the clouds. Her hips sway, but the pane doesn’t move’. How can Fallon expect to be like Manman? When she rushes to balance the basket upon her head, it ‘crashes and falls to the floor‘! This day is meaningful, for it’s My Day With the Panye.

Alongside Fallon, we watch and hear the ‘tap-tap bus‘ passing, ‘carrying people with sun-beaten faces full of laughter louder than a rooster’s crow’. It seems everyone is going to market.

Despite the scars of the earthquake, Haiti stands strong. Manman reminds Fallon that she will have to find the same strength to carry the panye. What’s more, she’s reminded she must ‘move gracefully, even the weight of the sun and the moon’.

It seems the world is heading toward the market, to buy and trade vegetables. ‘There’s food everywhere: sacks of potatoes, round like the moon; fat pumpkins, yellow-orange like the sun’. 

Fallon works to understand the symbolism of the family, that bearing this weight is the weight of tradition, family and the future. Thereafter, can she take this on?

Tami Charles offers such a lyrical, moving, insightful story of a tradition across South Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and the riddle East. Then again, by creating pictures of varying perspectives, with brilliant colours and movements, Sara Palacios has us travelling and learning with Fallon.

Bookwagon loves and recommends My Day With the Panye.


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My Day With the Panye

Tami Charles, illustrated by Sara Palacios

(Walker Books)

We know Sara Palacios’ brilliant, fresh pictures from A Way With Wild Things. Here she turns her attention to illustrating Fallon’s journey to market with Mama. It seems that this is a ground-breaking day, or as Fallon considers, My Day With the Panye.
Mama calms her excitement, reminding her that ‘Little by little, the bird builds its nest’. Thereafter, the panye’s place upon Mama’s head must be learned and earned. Fallon tells us, ‘More than anyting- more than I want to wear the finest silk in Haiti- I want to carry the basket like Manman does’. Therefore, what will she learn on this special day?
We watch Manman’s careful pace and posture while she reminds Fallon that ‘Our neighbourhood will show you the way’. Therefore, we look at at the ‘tap-tap bus‘ as it ‘chug-a- lugs by’ with ‘Kompa music‘ echoing in the wind. What’s more we pass ‘colourful walls’ en route to the market, with Manman reminding Fallon about the strength that is necessary inside, more than the body, in bearing this responsibility.
The market scenes, the rites of passage, the language and message are strong and pertinent. It seems we’re allowed a bird’s eye view into a world that is familiar to those in many parts of the world- ‘Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean’.
Therefore, will Fallon be allowed to step up and take her place as the next generation? Tami Charles story is poignant, moving and lyrical. What’s more it instils a respectful appreciation of these traditions within a really thoughtful picture book. Bookwagon recommends My Day With the Panye.


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