First published in the October, 1993, issue of Short Fiction by Women under the title "From the Ocean Floor,'' ''Children of the Sea'' was also included in Edwidge Danticat's 1995 short story collection Krik? Krak! The story of a young couple separated by political strife in Haiti, it received positive attention from critics as did the book, and the author quickly gained a reputation as one of the most promising writers in the United States. The tragic story, which concerns a doomed fate of a young couple, concerns many of the issues Danticat addresses in her other stories and in her novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, which was published in 1994.
A native of Haiti, Danticat writes almost exclusively about the country's people, particularly its women, who during the 1980s suffered at the hands of a dictator, Papa Doc Duvalier, as well as from poverty and violence. The story was inspired by the author's conversations with "boat people," as the refugees are sometimes known, who had made their way to Providence, Massachusetts. "Children of the Sea" has been commended for the way in which it blends political concerns with the emotional lives of the characters, thereby putting a human face on the suffering that many Westerners have only read about in the newspapers. Written in the alternating viewpoints of the young man and woman, the reader experiences the situation from both characters' perspectives. Through this technique, Danticat demonstrates the danger inherent in any choice a Haitian makes, whether it involves standing up to the government and trying to gain political asylum in the United States, or complying with the regime's demands even if it means betraying others through silence.