American Street

American Street

by

Ibi Zoboi

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on American Street can help.

Fabiola Toussaint

Fabiola is 16-year-old the protagonist of the novel. Because Fabiola was born in Detroit, she’s an American citizen—but when she was three months old, her mother, Manman, chose to return to Haiti with Fabiola… read analysis of Fabiola Toussaint

Kasim

Kasim is Dray’s best friend; he later becomes Fabiola’s boyfriend. At first, Fabiola describes Kasim as a vagabon, or a bad boy, and wants nothing to do with him because of his… read analysis of Kasim

Pri/Princess François

Pri is one of Fabiola’s cousins; she’s Matant Jo and Phillip’s daughter, Donna’s twin, and Chantal’s younger sister. Like Fabiola, Pri and Donna are 16 years old. Fabiola is initially perplexed… read analysis of Pri/Princess François

Donna/Primadonna François

Donna is one of Fabiola’s cousins; she’s Matant Jo and Phillip’s daughter, Pri’s twin, and Chantal’s younger sister. Like Fabiola, Donna and Pri are 16 years old. Whereas Pri is short… read analysis of Donna/Primadonna François

Chantal François

Chantal is Fabiola’s cousin; she’s Matant Jo and Phillip’s oldest child and Pri and Donna’s sister. While Fabiola describes Chantal as petite and pretty, Chantal doesn’t agree—she feels ugly and ungainly. Of… read analysis of Chantal François
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Matant Jo François

Matant Jo is Fabiola’s aunt; Manman’s sister; and Chantal, Pri, and Donna’s mother. She’s a few years older than Manman (Fabiola’s mother). Matant Jo’s story is tragic: she and Manman… read analysis of Matant Jo François

Dray

Dray is one of the novel’s antagonists; he’s Donna’s boyfriend. At 21, he’s about five years older than Donna. He’s loud, imposing, and dangerous, and he has a reputation for being controlling and getting… read analysis of Dray

Bad Leg/Papa Legba

Bad Leg is a homeless man who sits on the corner of American Street and Joy Road. People call him Bad Leg because he has one leg that he cannot use; when he sits on… read analysis of Bad Leg/Papa Legba

Manman/Valerie Toussaint

Manman is Fabiola’s mother and Matant Jo’s younger sister. She never directly appears in the novel, because just before the story begins, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in New York detain her… read analysis of Manman/Valerie Toussaint

Phillip/Jean-Phillip François

Phillip was Fabiola’s uncle; Matant Jo’s husband; and Chantal, Pri, and Donna’s father. He’s been deceased for about a decade when the novel begins. In the late 1990s, Phillip immigrated… read analysis of Phillip/Jean-Phillip François

Detective Shawna Stevens

Detective Stevens works for the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department; she’s investigating the death of a local student who died after taking designer drugs. She wears a fuzzy brown coat and sensible brown shoes, which… read analysis of Detective Shawna Stevens

Uncle Q

Uncle Q is Dray’s biological uncle, but Kasim explains that he’s also a paternal figure to many kids in the neighborhood. Uncle Q was there for these children and teens when no one else… read analysis of Uncle Q

Imani

Imani is Fabiola’s first friend at school. She’s a beautiful and very smart young woman, with long hair that Fabiola finds beautiful. Though Imani is initially reluctant to befriend Fabiola, given Fabiola’s cousins’ reputation… read analysis of Imani

Mr. Nolan

Mr. Nolan is Fabiola’s English teacher. At first, Fabiola is distraught at first when Mr. Nolan gives her essays poor grades and asks her to cite her sources—but as she learns to write better… read analysis of Mr. Nolan

Ezili/Ezili-Danto

Ezili is the lwa (Vodou spirit) of women and fertility. She sometimes becomes Ezili-Danto when she’s fighting for women’s vengeance, and in this form, she has injuries on her face. Fabiola sees Donna as… read analysis of Ezili/Ezili-Danto
Minor Characters
Ms. Stanley
Ms. Stanley is the principal of Pri, Donna, and Fabiola’s Catholic school. She’s a plump and cheerful white woman.
Taj
Taj is Pri’s crush. When Fabiola meets Taj once at a basketball game, she notices how happy and carefree her presence makes Pri.
Miss Sandra
Miss Sandra is one of the women who works at the beauty parlor where Donna gets her hair done.
Ms. Unique
Ms. Unique is one of the women who works at the beauty parlor where Donna gets her hair done.
Tonesha
Tonesha is Raquel’s cousin; she gets in Fabiola’s face at school and insists that Kasim is Raquel’s boyfriend.
Raquel
Raquel is a girl at school who wants to date Kasim. She, her cousin Tonesha, and Fabiola get into a fistfight over Kasim.
Baron Samedi
Baron Samedi is a lwa (Vodou spirit) and the warden of the cemetery. Fabiola sees Dray as an iteration of Baron Samedi.