Books For Haiti

Finding books for Haiti is not an easy task. In a country with low literacy rates, only a handful of bookstores and libraries, and no online marketplace, there is a desperate need for books but very few ways to find them. Although Haitian Creole has been spoken for centuries, the written version of the language was only officially formalized in 1979, so the body of literature in Haitian Creole is still very small compared to other languages.

However, Haiti has produced a number of talented writers, artists, and successful publishing companies making wonderful books for and about Haiti. These talented Haitians, some of whom have won international recognition, often share a desire to bring the unique stories of Haiti to the rest of the world. At the same time, international publishers and NGOs have recognized the great potential to improve literacy and education by publishing books for Haiti. As a result, the community producing content for and about Haiti has attracted a dedicated group of wonderfully talented writers, illustrators, translators and publishers from Haiti, Montreal, France, and other communities around the world.

For the last year, my colleagues at Library For All and I have been on an exciting treasure hunt to uncover the best books available for schools in Haiti. We’ve fallen in love with Edwidge Danticat’s prose, and we admire children’s books with vibrant illustrations of mango trees and Haitian landscapes. A few weeks ago, our co-founders Rebecca and Tanyella attended the Haiti Book Fair, along with our Haitian Advisory Board member Marie Ange Senat. We are looking forward to announcing some exciting new additions to our Library soon! While searching for books in Creole, books by Haitian authors and publishers, and books written for Haitian audiences, we’ve found some incredible resources and made many new friends along the way.

Although we are currently focused on digital books for K-12 students and teachers, we’ve also come across some great books and resources for adults, so we’ve included them in this list (and our Library) as well. This list is far from complete, but I’m excited to share what we have found so far. I hope that by sharing it we can help out others who are seeking resources for Haiti.

Many of the resources below are currently in our Library, and the rest we are hoping to add soon.

*** means that we currently have these materials in the Library
* means that we are in contact and will hopefully soon have these materials in the Library

Haitian Publishers (in alphabetical order)

  • Communication Plus* is a distributor for small publishers and self-published authors.
  • Editions Areytos has published at least two children’s books.
  • Editions Canapé Vert
  • Editions Choucoune publishes mainly poetry and essays, with several children’s books and classics.
  • Editions de la Dodine* – Haitian publisher with a collection of Haitian classic books.
  • Educa Vision*** – Based in Florida, Educa Vision’s founder and main writers are Haitian. They have hundreds of wonderful books for children in Creole, French, English and other languages.
  • Henri Deschamps* – Largest and oldest publisher in Haiti, whose Editha imprint focuses on children’s books.
  • JEBCA Editions publishes Haitian authors in Haiti and overseas.
  • Kopivit L’Action Sociale* also has some great children’s books, with many in Creole.
  • Les Editions Choucoune* has 30 children’s books, we are selecting relevant titles.
  • Les Editions Fardin publishes books for adults and high school students.
  • Les Presses Nationales d’Haiti has books for adults and high school students.
  • Magally Constant* is a new publisher working with several authors to develop children’s books.
  • Nouveautés Plus also publishes mainly books for adults, with a handful of children’s books.
  • Université Caraïbe / Éditions CUC*** has a collection of excellent children’s books, along with textbooks and a teacher training manual.
  • Éditions Zémès

Publishers with children’s books by Haitian authors and/or in Haitian Creole

  • Akashic Books*** – Based in Brooklyn, Akashic publishes a number of Haitian authors in English including the Haiti Noir series edited by Edwidge Danticat. Akashic has donated 15 Caribbean-focused books and young adult novels to our Library.
  • Editions de la Bagnole*** – Based in Montreal, published four books in French by Haitian author Dany Laferrière, is the children’s imprint of Groupe VML.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt* has some children’s titles in Haitian Creole and about Haiti, including old titles from former publishers Harcourt School and Harcourt Brace.
  • Mantra Lingua – UK-based publisher focused on bilingual books for children, including nine books in Haitian Creole and English
  • Mémoire d’encrier* – Montreal-based publisher of fiction for all ages by francophone authors from all over the world, including several children’s books in French by Haitian authors Edwidge Danticat and Mimi Barthélemy (formerly known as Editions Mémoire in Haiti).
  • One Moore Book*** publishes children’s books for countries with low literacy rates, including a small selection of books for Haiti.
  • Vents d’Ailleurs – Based in France, this publisher of books for children and adults specializes in francophone voices from outside France, including several Haitian authors. They are distributed in Haiti by Communications Plus.

Haitian children’s books authors who have self-published books

  • Fedo Bwoye***
  • Dr. Mireille B. Lauture***
  • Marlene Etienne***
  • Margaret Papillon* has written 7 children’s books and many more adult books.

Other self-published children’s book authors who have translated books in Haitian Creole

  • Philipp Winterberg***, a German children’s book author, has published his books in many world languages including Haitian Creole.

Libraries, NGOs, Open Educational Resources, and free online materials

Note that while some of these resources are openly shared under a Creative Commons license, some are free for online reading only, and others are protected by copyright and require permission to be copied, altered or distributed. See individual websites for more information or contact the owners directly for permission to use.

Resources

  • Haitian Book Center has an extensive catalogue of current print books relevant to Haiti
  • Cidihca (Centre International de Documentation et d’Information Haïtienne, Caribéenne et Afro-Canadienne), based in Montreal, has published a number of books about Haiti in French, English and Creole, most of which are titles for adults. They also have online archives and general information about Haitian history and culture.
  • Worldlanguages.com has a comprehensive list of books by language, including Haitian Creole.
  • Brandeis University’s Haiti initiative, Famni Ki Li Ansamn (families that read together), has a catalogue of children’s books for Haiti on their website.
  • Association Monique Calixte, located in France, supports literacy in Haiti.
  • Fokal
  • GCompris is a free, open source educational game software that is highly recommended by our school partners. It is available multiple languages including French and Haitian Creole.
  • Corbett’s “Discuss Haiti” mailing list, now hosted on the website Corbetthaiti.org, is a wonderful email listserv for general updates about Haiti (mostly in English).

Special thanks to everyone at Respire Haiti, Sybille Fleishmann from Inveneo, Joan Conn from Restavek Freedom, Christine Low from Mother Tongue Book Project, John Rigdon, Alex Lizzappi from Ayiti Now, and our wonderful Haitian Advisory Board members Marie Ange Senat, Fequiere Vilsaint, Wynnie Lamour, Françoise Thybulle and Richard Henri for helping us put together this list.

I’m sure that we are still missing some great publishers, NGOs and writers, so please help us complete and update this list by sending your suggestions to nicolec@libraryforall.org or filling out our content partner form.