By Atinuke illustrated by Lauren Tobia
Realistic Fiction – each book is about 100 pages long and seems right for most Grade 2 to Grade 4 readers (though I have to say I really enjoyed them and what I learned about Africa in the process)
School has begun and I am missing the relaxed luxury of reading each day. I am missing the long quiet hours to plan and reflect. School has begun, and yes there are things lost, but there are also wonderful things gained. I have a chance to talk books with many reading friends and I have a new set of readers to learn about and find the books that will excite and engage them.
I think many of the girls in my classroom will love Anna Hibiscus. I did. I read the four volumes and I learned about living in “Africa, amazing Africa.” Anna lives in a compound at the edge of a city. She is with her entire family – her father from Africa, her mother from Canada, her twin brothers, her cousins, her aunties and uncles and her grandmother and grandfather. Living there is special. Through Anna’s stories we learn about special talents and secret wishes. We learn how family traditions contrast with modern life and how a balance can be found. We learn about customs and culture. Mostly we learn about differences and how to better appreciate them.
Anna is a strong individual. She is adventurous and brave, concerned and caring, curious and inventive. She does amazing things – shares her best Sunday clothes with children more poor than she could imagine, sings a solo for a visiting president in the National Stadium and finds a way to save water in the dry harmattan months. It is good to read them in order because the stories in each volume connect (even when you don’t think they will.) Anna Hibiscus is growing up in a world that is finding a way to balance the old and the new – a real global community. You can join her there she has a lot to offer.