for Go Well, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia
The return of Anna Hibiscus is cause to rejoice with these four new paperbacks for newly independent readers or reading aloud. In Welcome Home, Anna Hibiscus!, Anna has returned from visiting Granny Canada, her maternal grandmother. Does her family think she’s changed too much? In Go Well, Anna Hibiscus! and Love from Anna Hibiscus!, Anna visits the village her grandparents left years before for the city where they all live now. Anna is unsure about making friends with the village kids, and aware how different—and in some ways more fortunate—her life is by comparison (she never goes hungry). But she realizes they all have things to learn and things to share with one another. When Anna meets Sunny Belafonte after he steals from her, she’s angry until she understands he did it because he was hungry, sparking her determination to help. In You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus!, Anna and her family are navigating grief and loss with the death of her beloved grandfather, who, Anna comes to understand, lives on in memories and stories. Respect, compassion, and understanding are all things Anna is taught by example and through gentle conversation with adults in her life. They are values she easily, innately embraces in the context of stories that are joyful even as they address difficult realities. Anna is biracial (Black/white), while the intentionally unspecified African settings, both city and village, underscore that across Africa there is urban and rural; poverty, wealth, and middle-class life like that of Anna’s family. (Ages 4-8)
CCBC Choices 2018. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018. Used with permission.