My Day with The Panye

my day with the panye

A young girl in Haiti is eager to learn how to carry a basket to market in an exuberant picture book with universal appeal.

“To carry the panye, we move gracefully, even under the weight of the sun and the moon.”

In the hills above Port-au-Prince, a young girl named Fallon wants more than anything to carry a large woven basket to the market, just like her Manman. As she watches her mother wrap her hair in a mouchwa, Fallon tries to twist her own braids into a scarf and balance the empty panye atop her head, but realizes it’s much harder than she thought. BOOM! Is she ready after all?

Lyrical and inspiring, with vibrant illustrations highlighting the beauty of Haiti, My Day with the Panye is a story of family legacy, cultural tradition, and hope for the future. Readers who are curious about the art of carrying a panye will find more about this ancient and global practice in an author’s note at the end.---from the publisher

40 pages 978-0763697495 Ages 5-9

Keywords: Caribbean, island, mother/daughter, growing up, self image, family, culture, traditions, diversity, diverse books, multicultural, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old, Social Studies Curriculum


“Hold your head up, oh

Hold your head up, oh

Hold your head up, oh

Hold your head high”

-- Argent (1972)







We are not

going to let them drop!”

-- Dr. Seuss (1961)

“Balance is the ability to hold your body upright and steady without falling down! This could be sitting or standing, moving or standing still, with eyes open or closed. Balance is a significant component of child development and relies heavily on the vestibular system. Children must learn to balance before they can progress to higher level gross motor skills like stair negotiation, hopping, galloping or skipping.”


“More than anything--more than I want to wear the finest silk in Haiti-- I want to carry the basket like Manman does.

‘May I try?’

‘Slowly,’ Manman says.

My toes start to prickle.

I dash for the door.


The panye falls and crashes to the floor.”

Children engaging in music and movement while balancing bean bags on their heads is a fun and valuable developmental activity.

The panye is a woven basket employed for carrying produce. MY DAY WITH THE PANYE is a delightful picture book, set in Haiti. As a circle time read aloud, it will be a perfect prelude to balancing activities, especially trying to balance objects on heads.

Fallon is a young girl longing to be like her mom and the other women, to engage in productive, grown-up behavior. She goes to the market with her mom and wants to try balancing the panye. Her mother encourages patience, passing on a wise saying that she had been taught as a child:

“‘Pitit, pitit, zwazo fe nich li.’ Little by little the bird builds its nest. Not everything is learned fast.”

The colorful gouache illustrations depict the lively prints of the Hatian attire, the flora of the Caribbean island republic, and the market as a community social scene.

MY DAY WITH THE PANYE is a story that is rich in confidence-building philosophy. It concludes with Fallon becoming proficient at balancing the panye, bringing smiles all around. Including one on my face. Don’t miss it!

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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