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The Mermaid and The Whale

La Sirène et La Baleine

La Sirena y La Ballena

Book by Djenane Saint Juste

The Author

Djenane Saint Juste


Djenane Saint Juste - Auteur of The Mermaid and The Whale #1.jpg

Djenane Saint Juste was born and raised in Haiti where she lived in Port-au-Prince, but rooted in Gonave Island. Then she also lived in Petion-Ville and Thomassin 48. At the age of six, she took her first step onto the stage as a member of Viviane Gauthier's dance troupe, an experience that ignited her love for dance and inspired her to become the star dancer in the JAKA dance troupe, founded by her mother, Mrs. Florencia Pierre ("Fofo"). Since then, Djenane has continued to delve deeper into the world of dance, music, theater, and more.


In 2003, Djenane won first place in beauty, intelligence and talent at the “Miss Videomax” pageant in Haiti and then at the “Miss Caribe” pageant in Cuba. Her journey of cultural self-discovery led her to develop new artistic skills through collaborations with various companies, both in Haiti and abroad, ultimately making her a versatile dance teacher and artist.


In 2005, Djenane earned a degree in Physical Education and Sports from Escuela Internacional de Educación Física y Deporte, in Havana, Cuba. In 2009, Djenane relocated to California, United States, and has since lived in the U.S., dedicated to sharing her profound love and knowledge of Haitian culture with all those eager to learn.

In 2017, she furthered her academic pursuits by attaining a master's degree in Education from the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota. She currently resides in Minnesota’s Twin Cities with her family, including her bright son, Hassen Ortega ("HTO"), her beloved mother,
Florencia Pierre ("Fofo"), and her mischievous dogs, Dodger and Remi.

Djenane is the founder and artistic director of AFOUTAYI, the Haitian Dance, Music, and Arts Company in the Twin Cities. Her passion for preserving and promoting Haitian culture has prompted her to embark on a journey as an author, aiming to inspire children to embrace the joy of dance, drumming, singing, and cherishing their own stories while exploring the rich tapestry of Haitian culture. She also hopes that her books will motivate readers to delve into their own heritage, regardless of their origins, and take pride in their identities.

To connect with Djenane and explore her work, please visit her website at and follow her using the hashtags #afoutayidmaco, #djenanesaintjuste, #djenanesaintjustehaititopmodel, and #tisonsonakpouvwatanbou.

You'll also find Djenane's writings on Platfòm MIT-Ayiti at http://MIT-Ayiti.NET

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A story written by Djenane Saint Juste in four languages (English, Haitian Creole, French, and Spanish) inspired by the Haitian folk song of "Lasirèn ak Labalèn”.  

A book and a CD to discover a bit of the island of La Gonâve in Haiti.

The Mermaid and the Whale begins with “Krik, krak!” the traditional Haitian way to begin a story, and it takes readers along pages of blue ocean. In Djenane Saint Juste’s new children’s book, The Mermaid and the Whale, we follow a beloved fable arc: A man travels to a distant island (this time called La Gonâve) to find gold, and with the help of two mysterious creatures, he learns that he already has everything he needs for a happy life. It’s a classic tale, one that teaches a good lesson, and in Saint Juste’s hands, it helps her share her Haitian culture in a new way. The goal is to edify as well as entertain, to engage her audience to delve into an often-misunderstood country. She wants the world to know that Haiti is about much more than poverty and natural disasters. She really wants her readers to have a different perspective, to know that Haiti also has a lot of beautiful things to offer the world. Written in English, Haitian Creole, French and Spanish this amazing cultural book invites readers to sing, dance, and discover more about Haiti.

Meet the Team

Thank you for contributing your expertise, energy, and time to this project; I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you!



The Mermaid and the Whale, is a quadrilingual book (Haitian Creole, French, English, and Spanish) telling the story of an old man whose encounter with two mythical creatures (The Mermaid and The Whale) life changes to a better note. This book comes with an audio CD in which the songs and storytelling are embedded (CD is no longer available) . This book expose readers to new languages and cultures and create an inclusive learning space that sees all languages as equal.

This is a book for youth of all ages!

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