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Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Unique MG Historical Eye-Opening and Important

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With a white father and a Chinese/Korean mother, 14-year-old Hanna has always been different, never quite fitting in among Asians or Caucasians.  She's never stuck out quite as much anywhere as she does in her new town of La Forge in Dakota Territory, though.  Although Hanna tries to show people that she's kind and hard-working, a person just like anyone else, the townspeople can't see past her mixed ethnicity.  When she walks down the street, they stare and whisper.  When she's finally allowed to enroll in school, parents withdraw their children.  When she tries to make friends, she's rebuffed.  All Hanna wants is to become a successful dressmaker like her mother.  Along the way, though, she's desperate to find just one person to be her confidante, one who will accept her for who she is instead of how she looks.  Can Hanna achieve her dreams in a place as unfriendly as La Forge?  Or will she and her father be forced to move on once again?  

Little House on the Prairie was one of my absolute favorite book series growing up.  Laura Ingalls Wilder's descriptions of frontier life were so vivid and captivating that they seemed to tell everything there was to know about homesteading on the prairie.  Turns out, Wilder left out a few things!  With her newest middle-grade novel, Prairie Lotus, veteran children's author Linda Sue Park aims to rectify that.  Like the Little House stories, this one describes pioneer life in rich detail, making it come alive for the reader.  It's told through a different lens, though, one of prejudice and small-mindedness, not just against Asians but against Native Americans as well.  Through smart, brave Hanna we see the courage and resilience that is required not just to do daily battle against these hardships but also to triumph over them.  Prairie Lotus ends on a positive, hopeful note, teaching valuable lessons about empathy, inclusion, and standing up for what's right along the way.  While I didn't end up absolutely loving the novel, I did find it interesting, important, and eye-opening.  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. Linda Sue Park is a good author and taking on prejudice and frontier life seems huge. I'm glad this was mostly good.


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