Hooray for Anna Hibiscus

Hooray for Anna Hibiscus
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Release Date
January 01, 2008
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Anna Hibiscus lives in amazing Africa with her family in a wonderful house in a beautiful garden in a big city. Join Anna as she sings for the president, gets in a terrible tangle with her hair and visits the other side of the city.

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Anna's Adventures in Nigeria
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In this sequel to Anna Hibiscus, Anna continues her adventures. This is a collection of four short stories that all start out with the same introduction to our main character: "Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa. In a country called Nigeria." She has a variety of adventures, many of which involve the extended family that live with her in a big house. Anna loves to sing, especially to her baby brothers Double and Trouble, and sings even at the school she is fortunate to attend. When she is chosen to sing for a visiting dignitary in a big venue, she loses her nerve for a moment, until she remembers how much she loves to sing. Anna is not a big fan of the weekly visits from the hair braiders, so runs off when they come. Her mother wants to make sure that her hair is taken care of, but Anna's grandmother advises that they just leave her alone. Anna tries to do her own hair, but it doesn't end well, and it becomes more and more unkempt as the week passes. Children at school make fun of her, and Anna is unable even to get a comb through it! Luckily, her grandmother patiently tries to fix the damage, but Anns is much more amenable to spending time every week after her disastrous experiment. When the power goes out repeatedly, Anna's uncles buy a generator, but Anna and her grandparents miss the quiet and quality family time they experience when everyone is not depending on electrical devices to amuse them. In a final story, Anna want to go with relatives to other side of city, even though they tell her that she doesn't want to see the poverty that exists there. It is hard for Anna to see, but she tries to help out the underprivileged children with whom she comes in contact, giving away her shoes and even her clothing!
Good Points
I'm a huge fan of early reader series, and while recent years have seen an increase in culturally connected ones like Citro's Zoey and Sassafras or Florence's Jasmine Toguchi, it is still hard to find books that are set in other countries. I have many students whose families have Nigerian heritage, and it is fascinating to see the differences in the clothing, way of life, and family dynamics in that country. While Anna's family is fairly comfortable, Atinuke's Too Small Tola offers a look at a less well-to-do lifestyle.

Tobia's black and white line drawings offer a good glimpse of backgrounds that will not be familiar to US readers, and support the text well. It's good to see reissues of this series, which started in 2010. This is a great series to introduce young readers to life in Nigeria, while Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina focuses on life in Colombia, Low's Sherlock Sam is set in Singapore, and Rickshaw Girl by Perkins takes place in Bangladesh.
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