February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Anna Hibiscus (CD)

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Little African girl playing in field of flowersAnna Hibiscus. By Atinuke. cassette or CD. 1 hr. Recorded Books. 2012. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4618-3465-6, CD: ISBN 978-1-4618-3466-3. $15.75.
Gr 1-3–With this introductory phrase, “Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa,” we are introduced to the many facets of an African child’s daily life with her close-knit family. The culture, land, and people of Africa come shining through in Atinuke’s absolutely delightful stories (Walker, 2007) in this early chapter book. Four vignettes focusing on the child’s life with her large, noisy, extended family point out the value of following traditions. Whether on holiday, selling oranges, dreaming of snow, or advising her Auntie Comfort in America, Anna Hibiscus learns lessons about respecting her elders, working hard, and becoming a proper African lady. Mutiyat Ade-Salu makes the sights and sounds of Africa come alive with her mesmerizing African lilt and clear diction. The humor and the gravity of the text are beautifully expressed, and the images of smiling relatives, lagoons, and the compound where Anna Hibiscus lives linger. One highlight is the simple, joyful paean to snow sung by Anna Hibiscus, although she has never actually seen it. Students will be fascinated by the richness of living near the sea and the rainforest, and will find opportunities to compare and contrast this lifestyle with their own experiences. A gem.–Lonna Pierce, MacArthur and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Binghamton, NY