Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 129

Picture Book: Anna Hibiscus’ Song

Author: Atinuke

Illustrator: Lauren Tobia

Summary: Anna Hibiscus is an African child who loves to sit in a mango tree and watch her extended family in their daily tasks. She becomes so happy she doesn’t know what to do with her joy. She comes down and begins asking a series of relatives how she might express her happiness. Each of them has a suggestion (counting the reasons why she’s happy, dancing, tumbling, whispering in an ear “I love you”…) all of which she tries, but her happiness only grows. After her mother confesses to sitting quietly when happy, Anna Hibiscus settles into her mango tree again, but she is still about to burst with happiness. Then the birds inspire her to open her mouth wide and sing. Oh how she sings!   

Hanna’s Comments: Besides the overall delight of this picture book, I especially like the way the love of these extended family members shines through. Also, I am always glad to see various skin colors in picture books. Lauren Tobia has chosen to give us a bi-racial Anna Hibiscus. Anna’s mother appears light-skinned. Anytime book illustrators offer non-white characters, especially protagonists, their offerings are especially appreciated by those of us who hope to see more diverse characters in children’s books. Note and Helpful Hint: There are several Anna Hibiscus books. Some are picture books and some are early chapter books. If you are looking on-line, you can usually tell this by the photo of the book. Picture books are usually more square than chapter books.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Kane Miller, 2011

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up

# of Pages: 38

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, adoration, affection, Africa, art, authenticity, babies/children, belonging, blessings, body of Christ, bonds/connections, celebration/party, choir/music/singing/songs, community, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, dance/dancing, differences, diversity, emotions/feelings, encouragement, exploration, family, flowers/leaves/trees, free will, gladness/happiness, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, joy, mentors/teachers, pleasing God/the Shema, prayer, response to God, self-discovery, variety, worship

Scripture Connections: Let us sing to the Lord (Psalm 95:1); O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt you and praise your name. (Isaiah 25:1); Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4)

Idea(s) for Application: The concept of worship is often difficult for children to understand. This book offers a wonderful demonstration of why and how we worship God in various ways. Sometimes praise and thanksgiving to God is the most natural human response we can make. 

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