the year i flew away

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set your own price $5-10

English & Haitian Creole

MG & Up

Marie Arnold

Cover Artist: Geneva Bowers

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  • Family
  • Immigration
  • Fantasy
  • Magic
  • Racism
  • Fitting In
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Own Voices


This book stressed me out in the best way possible. Main character Gabrielle is given the opportunity to leave her village in Haiti and live with family in the states. All she has to do is stay out of trouble. Now, the reader can probably assume that if that’s the only rule that Gabrielle has to follow, she might have some difficulty actually achieving that.

The Year I Flew Away addresses a lot of social-emotional turmoil that can come from immigrating, wanting to fit in, not being with your parents, all with a hefty dose of magic (because obviously a witch has to start meddling in Gabrielle’s life). The pressure to assimilate into American culture is felt on all sides, and Gabrielle wishes she can lose her accent, change her hair, and make a friend. Then, a witch shows up and promises Gabrielle all of these things and more. She’ll lose something small, something she’ll hardly notice at all. But is the witch to be believed?

Gabrielle as a main character is strong, fearless, and brave. She dives into situations with the best of intentions, readers (especially those who have emigrated young) will be able to relate to the confusion and anger of navigating a new and racist atmosphere. I love the interwoven cultural aspects of magic within the book, and there is something in the story that every reader will be able to relate to.

This book was kindly sent by HMH Kids, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to review it. All opinions and decision to review is my own!

about the author & cover artist

Marie Arnold

Marie Arnold was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and came to America at the age of seven. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York alongside her extended family. Marie enjoys creating stories full of adventure, and wonder, which center on girls of color. When she’s not writing, she’s adding to her insanely long Netflix queue and trying not to order pizza. She lives in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of THE YEAR I FLEW AWAY and THE STRIDE OF MY STEP. Twitter and Instagram: @mariearnoldbook

Geneva Bowers

Geneva Bowers is a self-taught illustrator based in Western North Carolina. Geneva loves manipulating color and adding whimsy with a touch of realism and calm.

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