Family Book Club: The Jumbies
Reading level: middle grade
Synopsis: Corinne La Mer claims she isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?
When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger at the market the very next day, she knows something extraordinary is about to happen. When this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, danger is in the air. Severine plans to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home.
Categories: multicultural, folklore, friendship, family, land ownership, slavery
- The smell of her orange tree reminds Corinne or her mom. Are there different smells that bring certain memories to life for you?
- Corinne lives with just her dad, Dru lives with a packed house of siblings and her mom and dad, and Malik and Bouki live by themselves. Do you have friends or classmates whose family structure and/or home life looks different from yours?
- Even though Severine's downfall was greed, her initial motivation was to try and reconnect with her sister's family. Do you think that motivation excused what she did? If you were her, how would you have gone about it?
- Corinne's mom allowed humans on the island when she saw they were trying to escape ships. When you were reading, did you recognize that these were slave ships and Corinne's mother was offering the slaves refuge? Have you learned about the slave ships and how people would try to escape?
- This book is based on folklore Baptiste heard when she was growing up in Trinidad. What folklore have you grown up with? Has it been based on geography?
Activity: Corinne remembers her mom best when she's gardening and especially when she's tending to her orange tree. Nurturing a plant to life can be so empowering and calming—and educational! There are a ton of different options, both indoor and outdoor, for gardening starter kits—you can also check out these videos on how to make your own.