Friday, December 31, 2010

Anna Hibiscus

Anna Hibiscus(Book #1)
written by Atinuke; illustrated by Lauren Tobia
(Kane Miller) 2010
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Anna Hibiscus is an early reader chapter book containing four short stories about the life of a young African girl. If you teach children in grades 1-3 and don't find and read this book, you are totally missing out! Anna lives with her large extended family which contains grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and two baby twin brothers named Double and Trouble. These four stories contain universal themes (importance of family, merging of old and new cultures, doing the right thing) that primary students will easily connect with and in a setting (Africa) of which most of our students have little background knowledge. What I especially love about these stories is the importance placed on family. The grandparents are greatly respected and everyone works together to help one another. In the first short story, Anna Hibiscus on Holiday, Anna's immediate family of five goes away for a vacation and finds out that having a large extended family is a great blessing. Anna Hibiscus Sells Oranges shows us a grandfather with great wisdom who teaches Anna how important, and sometimes difficult, it can be to do the right thing. This family is a wonderful mixture of old and new ways. The short story Auntie Comfort, about an aunt who lives in the United States and comes back for a visit to Africa, really illuminates this mix. Family members text and email each other across the Atlantic, but are also concerned about whether Auntie Comfort will remember the old family traditions. Few early reader books are this rich and well told. I can't wait to read more Anna Hibiscus books.

Other reviews of Anna Hibiscus:
The HappyNappyBookseller
Fuse #8
The Reading Tub
Brown Girl Speaks

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