Hooray for Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia (Kane Miller, 2010).
That’s right, hooray for the team of Atinuke and Tobia who have brought a great set of books to the early reader/ chapter book shelves. Atinuke’s writing style and Tobia’s artwork work incredibly well together to charm the pants off of you and draw you right into Anna’s world.
Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa. She lives with her mother and her father; her grandmother and her grandfather; her aunties and her uncles; her cousins, little, medium and big; and her twin baby brothers, Double and Trouble. They all live together in a big white house.
The Anna Hibiscus series offers a glimpse into this one girl’s young life, one that many of us in the U.K. (where the books were originally published) and the U.S. have never seen before. The stories in Hooray for Anna Hibiscus! are based on Atinuke’s own childhood in a middle-class family in an urban area of Nigeria. While they are wonderfully specific to this character and her family they also touch on themes that children everywhere can understand: having to perform even when it’s scary, how to tell the truth even when it’s difficult, how to reach across difference, and learning how to appreciate one’s own beauty even if that means having your hair yanked and pulled into braids every week.
So for Anna Hibiscus, Atinuke and Lauren Tobia: a huge hooray and a standing ovation, too.
(Image source: IndieBound)