Looking for a Jumbie

English & Caribbean spirit names

4-8

Folklore

Caribbean

Black Protagonist

West African Spirits

Tracey Baptiste & Amber Ren

summary

Looking for a Jumbie is SO cute. Main character Naya sneaks out of her house one night when the moon is perfect for finding a jumbie. Along the way she meets lots of interesting nocturnal characters, but will she be able to find the illusive jumbie?

I don’t want to give too many spoilers here, but I loved how the text has integrated the different spirit names for jumbies. I’m not from Trinidad like the author, but if I’m interpreting correctly, “jumbie” is an umbrella term for spirits/ghosts and there are specific ones like soucouyants, (I just listened to a podcast about them and they are SPOOKY) which have very badass fireball skin and suck blood.

Looking for a Jumbie is a fun story that integrates folklore and different lived experiences, it’s a fabulous mirror for Caribbean and Trinidadian readers. The illustrations are adorable, and made me want to learn even more about these different types of spirits. It might be out now at the height of spooky season, but this is a story I’ll be reading all year long!

This book was kindly sent by Harper Kids but all opinions are my own.

Tracey Baptiste

From her website: “I am the New York Times bestselling author of Minecraft: The Crash, as well as the creepy Caribbean series The  Jumbies, which includes The Jumbies (2015), Rise of the Jumbies (2017), and The Jumbie God’s Revenge (scheduled for 2019). I’ve also written the contemporary YA novel Angel’s Grace and 9  non-fiction books for kids in elementary through high school.

I’m a former elementary school teacher, I do lots of author visits, and I’m on the faculty at Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program.

My name is pronounced buhTEEST.”

Amber Ren

Amber Ren is a visual development artist specializing in background paint, color styling, and children’s book illustration.

Spending the first half of her life in China and the second half in America, Amber is heavily influenced by her bicultural background. She enjoys animation and illustration from both the East and the West, and her diverse interest and cultural background are evident in her work. Amber graduated from CalArts in 2015. 

Amber is currently working at Dreamworks TV and illustrating picture books during her free time. Her debut picture book BECAUSE written by Mo Willems is a New York Times Best Seller. She also illustrated two Little Golden Books which released in 2019. Her work was featured in The Eric Carle Museum’s first online exhibition, ART in Place: Social Distancing in the Studio. 

Her client list includes Disney Hyperion, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Disney TV, Warner Bros, Frederator, Boom!, and more. 


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