Harriet’s Daughter

“Book of the Month”, Alana’s Trinbago Pages and the Bibliography of Creative Writing in Trinidad and Tobago

“Characterfully narrated by Margaret, this story of a strong friendship between two black Caribbean girls in Toronto confidently carries a feminist theme. . . . {Margaret} is in the Holden Caulfield mode of adolescent run-on narrators, but the author skillfully allows enough space between Margaret and readers for them to appreciate her foibles as well as her strengths. The portrayal of a community of brave black women is both funny and intense, admiring and admirable”.

–Roger Sutton – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The language of the novel is a vivid intermingling of standard English and dialect. The novel successfully challenges stereotypical notions of both strong, matriarchal black mothers and of poor, abused, powerless black women. Overall, the work is a valuable contribution to Caribbean and postcolonial literatures…”

–From K.H. Katrak – Choice

“…a wonderful surprise of clarity and delicate balance…This novel is riveting, funny, technically accomplished. It raises difficult issues around gender and power without ever resorting to easy protest or maudlin sentiment. I’ve put my personal copy on the shelf with my other favourite “chapter books” that I’m waiting to share with my seven-year-old daughter as soon as she’s ready to read them. I’ve put my review copy on the shelf where I keep new novels I plan to share with friends or students.”

Rhonda Cobham -The Women’s Review of Books July 1990

“This is book about friendship, loyalty and love that everyone from nine to ninety can enjoy. It’s about being brave and growing up. Harriet’s Daughter is a book you’ll never forget.”

— Debbie Jacob –Trinidad Guardian 20/2/94

“(Harriet’s Daughter) deals with real emotions, talks of real events and asks the sort of questions about parents that many children are dying to ask but dare not….What really makes this a must to read is the way it uses the girls’ experiences to make the fact of being black a very positive, enhancing experience without preaching, moralising or being patronising…. (It) will go down well with readers of any age”

— **STAR CHOICE** -Educational Impact Nov ’89

“The portrayal of a community of brave black women is both funny and intense, admiring and admirable.”

– The University of Chicago Bulletin of the Centre of Children’s Books, Nov’89

“Marlene Nourbese Philip, a prize winning poet and short story writer, has imbued her first novel with a strong sense of pride in and concern with West Indian culture and values. The vibrant cover art is a plus too. A must for ages 10-16 for an insight into a growing force in Ontario society.”

— FB -The Reviewing Librarian vol.14 #2

“Harriet-Margaret is a wonderfully engaging young heroine: no goody-goody, exemplary figure, but a bright, funny, spirited kid…. This book, which was runner-up for the 1989 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children’s Award, delivers a strong message without preaching.”

–Joan McGrath –Quill & Quire Aug’89

“Harriet’s Daughter …deals in a lively, highly readable way with homesickness, responsibility, family ties, and the specific problems faced by young adults in a multi-racial city. The dialogue comes right off the page –you’ll find yourself reading it aloud”

— Arlene Perly Rae Toronto Star June ’89

“Ms. Philip’s long experience as a prize winning poet is evident in this work. Her scenes are crafted with artistic unity in mind. Every event in this work is multi- dimensional and is part of the larger whole. … This novel is to be read by all and incorporated into the junior high school curriculum. I predict that it will be around for a long time. Its cry is universal, its conflicts eternal, and its attempts at finding solutions parallel those of adolescents and parents of all epochs.”

— Caribe April1990

” A lively and insightful adolescent novel…about friendship, coming of age and identity…. The teenagers are endearing and the story is told with warmth, humour and skill.”

–Paula Giddings –Essence July ‘89

“Lively, funny and toughly realistic about the pains of adolescence, Harriet’s Daughter is also a celebration of bright resilient kids discovering their own strength.”

–Michele Landsberg -Toronto Star Feb ’91

“Harriet’s Daughter is a title that the school librarian searching for good reading material cannot ignore. It is an authentic voice, speaking from the heart. The story, located in and around Toronto’s St. Clair Ave., flows naturally and the language is down to earth and…creative.”

— Suwanda Sugunasiri Toronto Star Aug.’89

“This novel explores the friendship of the young black girls and throws into sharp relief the wider issues of culture and identity so relevant to teenagers of all races and colours”

— Wendy McDonell – New Dimensions ’93

“Here is one of the few young adult novels dealing with the West Indian community in Canada. Honourable Mention 1989 CLA Book of the Year Award.”

— Our Choice/Your Choice 1989/90, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“Harriet’s Daughter… will appeal to many teenagers who live in a multi-racial society and face problems such as exile and language barriers.”

— Patricia Fry –Canadian Materials May 1989

“How does a young black teenager manage to take control of her life? Like heroine Harriet Tubman, Margaret, the spunky young woman of Harriet’s Daughter, takes control with imagination, determination and a lot of help from older women in her community”

— Synopsis –City of Toronto Book Award Finalists


Book description