Early chapter books set in modern Africa about a middle-class family are hard to find in this country. Early chapter books that deftly handle the difficult issues of poverty, class, and economics are even rarer. Nigerian-born Atinuke’s series about young Anna Hibiscus and her large extended family do these things with grace and humor. Originally published in England, the first two are now available here. Anna Hibiscus lives in “Africa—amazing Africa,” in a city of “lagoons and bridges . . . skyscrapers and shanty towns.” Her mother is from Canada, her father from Africa, and she has twin baby brothers, Double and Trouble. Each of the four chapters tells a complete story and, while presenting clear cultural differences, explores themes that are universal and child-centered. A story about selling oranges from a family tree is of special interest as a resource for primary classrooms with economics benchmarks. Never didactic, the fluid storytelling is enhanced by Tobia’s charming illustrations. While it is disappointing that a specific country is never identified, the book’s strong features make it noteworthy. Grades 1-3. --Lynn Rutan
About the Author
Atinuke is a Nigerian storyteller. She draws upon her recent ancestry from Yoruba land, England and Wales, and more ancient origins of Spain, Portugal and China, to tell stories from both the world of folktales and contemporary life. She lives in Wales with her husband and two sons. Anna Hibiscus is her first title for Walker Books.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.