Prairie Lotus

HMH/Clarion. Mar. 2020. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328781505.
Gr 5-8–Fourteen-year-old Hanna and her father move to the frontier town of LaForge, where Hanna hopes they can finally put down permanent roots. Since her mother’s death three years earlier, Hanna and her father have traveled from town to town, trying to find a place they will be accepted. Will LaForge be the place where Hanna can finally go to school and make friends? Or will they have to leave just like every other place because the townspeople are afraid of a girl who is half Chinese? At moments stingingly painful and ultimately triumphant, this story will cause readers to look at frontier life with a new set of eyes. Racism, immigration, Native American reservations, invisible histories, and parental loss are just a few of the heavy topics Park plumbs with grace while making them accessible for young readers. Hanna is a relatable heroine struggling to overcome ignorance and racism both firmly and kindly, all while seeking what she most desperately wants—acceptance for who she is.
VERDICT A sometimes uncomfortable yet triumphant story from the world of “Little House on the Prairie” told through a marginalized perspective; this is a must-read for middle grades and beyond.

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