- make you smile
- make you cheer
- make you feel like a visitor to Africa
and most importantly confirm why reading is such a special experience
go out and grab a copy of Go Well Anna Hibiscus!
I have written about other books by Atinuke and I do think she is such a talented writer. Perhaps you have never heard of her and this might be because her books are intended for our youngest beginning readers but don't let the idea of a junior novel deter you - Atinuke is able to take her reader into Africa and into the lives of a very special family with Anna herself at the heart of the action.
Firstly let me introduce Anna Hibiscus :
"Anna Hibiscus lives with her mother and her father, her grandmother and her grandfather, her aunties and her uncles, her many-many cousins and her own two brothers, Double and Trouble. They all live together in a big white house in a big busy city on the wonderful continent of Africa."
As this story opens Anna's grandparents have decided to travel back to their remote village. Grandfather says "he wants to be somewhere quiet enough to hear his memories think."
Anna and her three big cousins will travel with their grandparents but the car is too full so at the last minute Anna and her cousin Joy are left to follow behind on a very crowded bus. The journey is long and filled with with interesting sights, experiences and characters. Finally the girls arrive at their destination but there is nothing to be seen. They must now take a long and dangerous walk to the village. Anna is carrying her pet chicken Snow White and Joy has Anna's big pink bag. The girls must carefully place their feet in the footprints of the older women in order to avoid snakes but it is hot and Anna soon becomes quite exhausted.
"The village women were walking swiftly a long way ahead. Their loads were balanced gracefully on their heads. Anna Hibiscus was hot and too tired and too thirsty to even cry. ... Suddenly Anna Hibiscus knew what to do. She shook Snow White off her head. She balanced his heavy basket there instead. Snow White flew onto it. .. Anna Hibiscus did not stop she was not going to be left behind in a bush full of snakes!"
Joy copies this idea and everyone arrives safely. Now Anna must find a way to fit into village life. She is too young to go swimming in the river and has no interest in sitting with the older men as they gather to gossip and reminisce. Her solution to this problem will make you smile.
If you have not yet met Anna Hibiscus take a minute to watch this terrific video of one of her picture books. These are such wonderful books - simply perfect for young readers who are just gaining confidence. We have nearly all the titles in our school library so why not borrow one today?
these gentle stories are illustrated on nearly every page with Tobia's gray-scale sketches. Accurate cultural details will appeal to readers curious about life in an unfamiliar world.