Although Hana is not teased by the children at school, and does not wish to change her name, her story reminds me ofChrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. Hana has just begun taking violin lessons. She was inspired by her grandfather's music while she was visiting him in Japan and her parents have agreed to the lessons. The problem is that Hana has signed up for the school's talent show and she has only had three lessons so far. Her brothers nearly fall out of a tree as they laugh at her announcement, but Hana just keeps practicing. On the day of the show, she is nervous and even wishes she could disappear, but she does her best - and it is a surprise to everyone, even the reader!
This is a wonderful story for so many reasons. It illustrates perseverance, courage, and the bond between a grandchild and grandparent. But it also would make a wonderful model text to share while studying descriptive writing. The imagery is so rich, and there are similes - "her brothers laughing like monkeys in the tree," adjectives - "oceanic roar" or "indigo evenings" and other great word choices to discuss. Whether you are looking for a read-aloud to help students become better writers, or just want to share a book about someone pursuing a talent and not giving up, read Hana's story to someone. You will be glad you did.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
Check out the book trailer.