This is not your school's summer reading list

Anna Hibiscus

Anna Hibiscus
By Atinuke; Illustrations by Lauren Tobia
Early reader, Ages 5 and up
Walker Books Ltd, 2007
Kane Miller EDC Publishing 2010 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-935279-73-0
additional formats: audio book
Boston Globe Horn Honor Book 2011

Strong girls and their families have plenty in common the world over. Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke offers us a peek at them, African style. Anna lives in a large white house with her African father and Canadian mother. This is modern Africa, a place of blended cultures, “an amazing city of lagoons and bridges and roads, of skyscrapers and shanty towns.”

In simple chapters that work like a sophisticated interrelated short story collection, this book gives early readers a fresh lens on simple things like a beach vacation, boredom on a hot day, or the excitement and worries of relatives visiting.

The beauty of the book lies largely with the characters, all of whom are developed with simple, spare text. We meet elder grandparents who are held in the highest respect, fabulously-named relatives like Aunty Comfort and Uncle Bizy Sunday, poor girls selling oranges to sustain their families, and chattering cousins, aunts, and uncles who cheerfully attend to wailing babies without much regard to which child belongs to whom. There is plenty of gentle comedy that sits alongside thoughtful text about serious issues, such as poverty and the impact of modern ways on traditional values.

It’s not surprising that Anna Hibiscus was awarded the Boston Globe Horn Book Honor award in 2011. Best news of all? There is an entire series of Anna Hibiscus books to devour. MM

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4 responses

  1. Thank you for giving me a wonderful excuse to visit the young children’s section of the library.

    June 26, 2013 at 8:46 am

    • Circe, thank you so much for visiting our blog! Have fun at the library!

      June 26, 2013 at 9:00 am

  2. hello, can i ask you something…
    how can i enable the slideshow, cause in mine blog appear only one picture?

    July 7, 2013 at 7:56 am

    • Hi Giorgos, your blog is beautiful! It looks like you’re using the Manifest theme, which doesn’t support a slide show of images from multiple posts from what I can tell. I think any theme will support a slideshow of images within a single post, though. Go to the WordPress support page and search for [slide show]. You should find simple instructions there. Good luck!

      July 19, 2013 at 6:41 am

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