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Do you love Little House on the Prairie? The love of the old west, the life and stories of the people who lived there that comes to life? Prairie Lotus, the book I’m reviewing today is a lovely book in the likeness of the life of Laura Ingalls. Linda Sue Park introduces us to Hanna, the Prairie Lotus.
What I am Reviewing
Linda Sue Park.
Houghton Miffin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.
Ages 10-12, Grades 5-7.
Reviewed for Raincoast Books.
Old West, Asian American, Native American, History, Children’s books, Upper Elementary, Country, American history, Chinese American,
A powerful, touching, multi-layered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America’s heartland, in 1880. Hanna’s adjustment to her new surroundings, which primarily means negotiating the townspeople’s almost unanimous prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story. Narrated by Hanna, the novel has poignant moments yet sparkles with humor, introducing a captivating heroine whose wry, observant voice will resonate with readers.
The Details of Prairie Lotus
Oh, what can I tell you about Prairie Lotus? It’s a lovely book. Hanna is a delightful, but determined girl. I loved how Ms. Park developed Hanna’s character. Hanna has her fears, which are very real with distinct elements of danger. At the same time, she knows what she wants and pushes to get them. Navigating hostile waters, she manages to make a friend and get an education. It’s so interesting to watch how it all develops.
With a similar theme to the Little House on the Prairie books, Prairie Lotus touches on a situation that the Ingalls never approached. The fear and bigotry against Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. This was a prevalent part of the early days of Canada and the United States.
We get to see the varied reactions to the Native Americans, the working through of the legal requirements of the law, but mostly…. we get to see history in action. A living book that adds a great dimension to the Little house on the prairie books. Read both, and see history better.
I grew up reading Little House on the Prairie. I immersed myself into Laura’s world. When the TV show came out … I watched in. I know the Ingall’s family well. If Prairie Lotus had been out at that time I would have read it as well and been enthralled with Hanna and her life. It wasn’t easy, but she persevered.
I loved seeing her determination to see things through. Watching people pull together (for good or for ill) gave excellent insight into group dynamics. This was such an interesting book. I urge you to let your Ingall’s fans read this book.