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Anacaona, Golden Flower by Edwidge Danticat
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Anacaona, Golden Flower

by Edwidge Danticat

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I absolutely love the entire Royal Diaries series. They are all incredibly brilliant. MY favorite are Jahanara, Eleanor and Lady of Ch'iao Kuo. They're a great way to learn history. ( )
  benuathanasia | Sep 5, 2012 |
The Royal Diaries is a series of books presenting the imagined diaries of various princesses. In this case, it is the tale of Anacaona, a Taíno cacique (chief), who is also a warrior, a poet, a leader, and a diplomat.

While learning about this woman was certainly fascinating, the book was very tame. This is to be expected since the desired audience is younger preteen girls -- my sister was a big fan of the series when she was in Junior High -- and I probably would not have picked it up were it not written by Edwidge Danticat.

She does what she can with diary format (difficult as the Taíno had no written language). The writing was clean and precise, but unfortunately, also had that educational, now-you-are-learning-something-about-history-in-story-format feel to it, which is hard to avoid in books like this. Not a bad book for girls interested in princesses, and it definitely sparked enough of my interest in Anacaona that I would be willing to go learn more about her (which I suppose is partly the point). ( )
  andreablythe | May 20, 2010 |
Anacaona's story begins in the year 1490 when she is about sixteen years old. Her uncle is the cacique, or supreme ruler, of their province of Xaragua, located in what is now Haiti. Anacaona and her older brother, Behechio, have been raised to become the future rulers of Xaragua. But Anacaona gives up her birthright to marry Caonabo, the cacique of the nearby province of Maguana. Anacaona loves her husband and is happy in her marriage, and her joy only increases after the birth of their daughter, Higuamota. But life for their people is about to change forever when strange pale-faced men arrive from the sea and threaten their way of life and their very survival.

The author has done an excellent job at bringing to life Anacaona and her Taino people, and their life before and after the arrival of European explorers. This book shows how tragic the "discovery" of the Americas ultimately was for these native people, who were nearly all decimated within a few decades of Columbus's arrival. This book is an excellent addition to the Royal Diaries series, but it is not really for younger readers of the series. Due to some of the content, I would recommend it more to teen readers who enjoy this series or who are interested in this subject. ( )
  rebecca191 | Nov 11, 2008 |
Although it irritated me that once again, The Royal Diaries had made a diary for a Princess who had no written language - and therefore would not have written a diary, so she shouldn't be in the series - and this one was far better than Weetamoo's. Instead of trying to explain away Anacaona's diary as a record of petroglyphs and signs, like Weetamoo's, Danticat simply ignored history and "pretended" Anacaona may have written a diary in a lunar cycle her tribe really used. It actually worked much more effectively, although this may be due to Danticat's talent to Patricia Clark Smith's mediocre attempt.

But enough whining. Danticat does an admirable job of bringing to life a society which could not leave a written record behind; I really felt like she brought the whole society to life. You learn about the culture and customs in a way that feels truly integrated, rather than a history lesson or a story about a princess who happens to be the Golden Flower of the Taino. One of the best entries in the series. ( )
  makaiju | Apr 28, 2008 |
I think this is a good addition to the Royal Diaries series. The preface to the book explains that Anacaona's culture was an oral, not written, one, which involved some bending of the facts to fit the 'diary' format. Still, the author does a good job preserving the oral tradition by relating riddles and poems throughout. Anacaona is an interesting character, spiritual and empathetic but also a bit brutal at times (but not without provocation), and always aware of her responsibilities. ( )
  legxleg | Mar 1, 2008 |
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I am Anacaona.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439499062, Hardcover)

Edwidge Danticat, the award-winning, best-selling author of THE FARMING OF BONES and KRIK? KRAK! offers a powerful addition to The Royal Diaries series with the story of Haiti's heroic queen Anacaona.

With her signature narrative grace, Edwidge Danticat brings Haiti's beautiful queen Anacaona to life. Queen Anacaona was the wife of one of her island's rulers, and a composer of songs and poems, making her popular among her people. Haiti was relatively quiet until the Spanish conquistadors discovered the island and began to settle there in 1492.
The Spaniards treated the natives very cruelly, and when the natives revolted, the Spanish governor of Haiti ordered the arrests of several native nobles, including Anacaona, who was eventually captured and executed, to the horror of her people.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:31 -0400)

Beginning in 1490, Anacaona keeps a record of her life as a possible successor to the supreme chief of Xaragua, as wife of the chief of Maguana, and as a warrior battling the first white men to arrive in the West Indies, ravenous for gold.

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