Anna Hibiscus

February 29, 2016

Anna Hibiscus

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, amazing Africa… so the first story begins and many of the stories that come after.

As it’s World Book Day this week, I wanted to start the week with a book series we are loving.  We are slowly moving on from picture books, so I am always looking for interesting chapter books that still have pictures and quite big text.  We recently discovered the Anna Hibiscus series of books and they are a breath of fresh air.

Anna Hibiscus reviews

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa with her entire extended family in one house. Grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins all live together.  And they do pretty much everything together.  These books really celebrate family life. While this isn’t the Western way of life, I think the point is to show kids that different cultures have different ways of life but that doesn’t mean we are so different.  Anna Hibiscus’ adventures are like the adventures of any little kids living anywhere.  She experiences sibling rivalry, her twin baby brothers (Double & Trouble) often annoy her, she defies her parents and grandparents and does everything else any 6, 7 or 8 year old kid would do.

Each of the Anna Hibiscus books, written by a Nigerian author called Atinuke, are a collection of short stories.  They all have lots black & white illustrations with plenty of details to look at.  Many of them have a little lesson about class, tradition, family and courage in them but it’s never preachy.  The books are feel good books – they kind of remind me of a kids version of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency books where you can have traditional values but still embrace modern life.  Anna Hibiscus’ family all have mobile phones and all the latest tech but they also love and live their traditional African culture too.

childrens books set in Africa

I don’t think we have enough kids books that explore and expose us to different cultures – at least I haven’t come across many.  So to find one which does this and does it well, gets my vote and Anya is really enjoying these books too.  And just because the main character is a girl, don’t let that put you off getting this book for boys too. Kids are kids and any kids in Anna Hibiscus’ age group will relate to her antics and learn about a culture different to their own.  

The Anna Hibiscus books are especially great to read to kids aged 5-7 years and great for slightly older kids to read themselves.  My only negative about these books is that I wish they were specific about where in Africa as Africa is a massive continent and it feels like a bit of a generalisation. But if you can look beyond that, these books are a sweet, uplifiting and positive read. 

If you like the sound of this book, my UK readers can find it here and my US readers here. Can you recommend any children’s book set in a different culture? I’d love to add to our collection!

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  • Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    Love your book series, and this one looks like a perfect choice for our isabelle too. Thanks for sharing! Always on the look out for new books x

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you lovely. These are sweet, sweet books and so great to have something set in a different culture for a change. I hope she enjoys them if you get them. x

  • Honest Mum

    Love that these books are set in Africa and feature a different culture, so important for children. Will have to get them for the boys. Thanks darling x

    • ebabee likes

      I was so happy to find something a little different that explores a different culture. I am sure Oliver will enjoy. xx

  • Babes about Town

    This is terrific. I’m actually writing a post about World Book Day costumes and bemoaning lack of diversity, so it’s great to see a book set in Africa and by a Nigerian author I haven’t heard of! Planning a post around this topic so will link to this for sure x

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you. I was so pleased to find these books and when we got them they didn’t disappoint. Personally for me, the African culture is similar to the Indian culture and so makes it so relevant for us too. xx

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