Splash, Anna Hibiscus
written by Atinuke; illustrated by Lauren Tobia
2013 (Kane Miller)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Anna Hibiscus lives in amazing Africa. She has a big and wonderful family and they are visiting the beach in this enjoyable new picture book. It's a hot day and the waves are splashing, but no one other than Anna seems interested in playing in the water. Her older cousins are on their phones and feel too old to play in the water. Other cousins are playing soccer on the beach or playing in the sand. Anna's mother and her aunties are braiding hair so they don't want to come to the waves either. The grandparents are sleeping and the men are too busy talking.With nobody to ask, Anna dips her toes in the water and decides that she can go solo. The waves laugh at her and she laughs back. The waves jump on Anna and she jumps back on them. Soon, her laughter is heard up and down the beach. Suddenly, her family realizes one of the reasons why you go to the beach.
Sometimes my youngest daughter gets down because her older sister will not play with her. My wise wife tells her, "Go make your own fun and she will probably join you." Inevitably, this is what happens. I think this is a valuable lesson to teach young children and I can't remember a book that teaches this. There are always those students who seem to be alone on the playground and complain that nobody wants to play with them. Splash, Anna Hibiscus! would be a good book to show them that you can make your own fun alone and you never know who might come play with you.
With delightful illustrations and a joyful lead character like Anna Hibiscus, you get a picture book that will please your young readers and lead to many connections.