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From the Anna Hibiscus series, volume 4

by Atinuke illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61067-008-1
Publisher: Kane/Miller

Raised in a suburban compound among an extended African family, Anna Hibiscus travels to Canada to visit her other grandmother and see snow. These four connected stories describe her departure, her first joyful experience of snow, making friends and celebrating Christmas with her grandmother. Through Anna's eyes, cultural differences become clear. She wakes alone for the first time in her life. She misses familiar spicy foods but enjoys chocolate cereal. She struggles to put on tights and warm clothes. She fears her grandmother's dog. At home, dogs live outside and might bite, but in Canada, Quimmiq rescues her from a snowdrift. In this thoroughly modern world, Anna calls her family on the phone, takes pictures of everything, and even packs a cooler full of snow to take home to her baby brothers. This fourth in the series adds an extra dimension to the cultural richness of these titles by making the contrast between worlds explicit. Christmas is both familiar and new, with different foods, old and new carols and one splendidly decorated tree instead of lights everywhere. The Nigerian-born author has drawn on her own childhood travel to make this experience real for young readers today. On every spread, Tobia’s sketches, black and white with gray fill, add interest and appeal. A welcome addition to the sparse collection of stories for young readers about modern African life. (Fiction. 5-9)