Serafina's Promise

by Ann E. Burg

Scholastic Press
August 2015

Ages 8 – 12 . Grades 3 – 7

Lexile measure: HL590L

DRA: 40

Guided Reading: S

Serafina made a secret promise
to go to school and learn to read
so she can become a doctor
with her best friend, Julie Marie.

But following her dream isn't easy-
endless chores, little money
and stomach-rumbling hunger
all test her resolve.

When an earthquake hits
and separates Serafina
from friends and family,
she encounters her biggest test of all.

Serafina made a secret promise.
Will she survive to keep it?
Ann E. Burg

Ann Burg's debut novel, All the Broken Pieces, was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Jefferson Cup award winner and an IRA Notable Book for a Global Society, among its many honors. Her follow-up, Serafina's Promise, was named an ALA Notable, a Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner, and an NAACP Image Award finalist. Her latest novel, Unbound, was the winner of the New-York Historical Society Children's History Book Prize and the Christopher Award, among other distinctions. Burg worked as an English teacher for ten years before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with her family. Visit her online at


  • Awards and Nominations for SERAFINA'S PROMISE:

    Kirkus Best Book of the Year
    Parents' Choice Gold Award winner
    School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
    New York Public Library 100 Books for Giving and Sharing
    The Herald-Sun Wilde Award for Longer books, Middle grade novel
    Cybils Awards Finalists, Middle Grade Fiction
    NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Literary Work-Youth/Teens nominee
    ALA Notable Book
    ALA Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
    Michigan Great Lakes Great Books Award nominee
    Bank Street College Children's Book Committee - Best Children's Books of the Year
    Americas Award, Commended Title


--- - As the dark, cloudy water
flows into my basin,
I wonder where Banza goes
when he disappears.
Sometimes we don’t see him
for weeks. 

I wonder what it’s like
to always be hungry
and wander about every day
looking for food. 

Sometimes I’m hungry.
Sometimes my belly
is so empty it grumbles,
and a plate of rice
or a black banana
is just not enough. 

On those days,
Papa sings louder,
and Manman’s eyes
are softer.
Gogo takes my hand
and we dance away
the rumbles.
I wonder what hunger
is like without a family
to fill the emptiness. 

I think about Baby Pierre.
He never had a chance
to grow fat with our love. 
Paperback / softback

Perfect-bound Paperback

ISBN: 9780545535670

304pp. | 5-¼ x 7-⅝