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Prairie Lotus
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Prairie Lotus
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Prairie Lotus is 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...
Prairie Lotus is 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...
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  • Prairie Lotus is 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. Afterword.

About the Author-


  • Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard and bestseller A Long Walk to Water. She has also written several acclaimed picture books, fiction and nonfiction, and is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family. Visit her online at lspark.com and on Twitter @LindaSuePark.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 6, 2020
    Newbery Medalist Park explores prejudice on the American frontier in this sensitively told story about a multiracial girl and her white father in Dakota Territory. Hanna, 14, and her father have been traveling for nearly three years, since her half-Chinese, half-Korean mother’s death. When they settle in railroad town LaForge in April 1880, Pa plans to open a dry goods store, and talented seamstress Hanna, taught by her mother, fervently hopes to attend school before designing dresses for the shop. Though the town reacts strongly to their arrival, mocking Hanna and keeping children home from classes, the girl perseveres by emulating her mother’s gentle strength. Strongly reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels in its evocative, detailed depictions of daily frontier life, the book includes an author’s note acknowledging Park’s efforts “to reconcile my childhood love of the Little House books with my adult knowledge of their painful shortcomings.” Though Hanna’s portrayal at times hews closely to the “exceptional minority” mentality, her painful experiences, including microaggressions, exclusion, and assault, feel true to the time and place, and Park respectfully renders Hanna’s interactions with Ihanktonwan women. An absorbing, accessible introduction to a troubled chapter of American history. Ages 10–12. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown Ltd.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2020
    A "half-Chinese and half-white" girl finds her place in a Little House-inspired fictional settler town. After the death of her Chinese mother, Hanna, an aspiring dressmaker, and her white father seek a fresh start in Dakota Territory. It's 1880, and they endure challenges similar to those faced by the Ingallses and so many others: dreary travel through unfamiliar lands, the struggle to protect food stores from nature, and the risky uncertainty of establishing a livelihood in a new place. Fans of the Little House books will find many of the small satisfactions of Laura's stories--the mouthwatering descriptions of victuals, the attention to smart building construction, the glorious details of pleats and poplins--here in abundance. Park brings new depth to these well-trodden tales, though, as she renders visible both the xenophobia of the town's white residents, which ranges in expression from microaggressions to full-out assault, and Hanna's fight to overcome it with empathy and dignity. Hanna's encounters with women of the nearby Ihanktonwan community are a treat; they hint at the whole world beyond a white settler perspective, a world all children deserve to learn about. A deeply personal author's note about the story's inspiration may leave readers wishing for additional resources for further study and more clarity about her use of Lakota/Dakota. While the cover art unfortunately evokes none of the richness of the text and instead insinuates insidious stereotypes, readers who sink into the pages behind it will be rewarded. Remarkable. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2020

    Gr 5-8-Fourteen-year-old Hanna and her father move to the frontier town of LaForge, where Hanna hopes they can finally put down permanent roots. Since her mother's death three years earlier, Hanna and her father have traveled from town to town, trying to find a place they will be accepted. Will LaForge be the place where Hanna can finally go to school and make friends? Or will they have to leave just like every other place because the townspeople are afraid of a girl who is half Chinese? At moments stingingly painful and ultimately triumphant, this story will cause readers to look at frontier life with a new set of eyes. Racism, immigration, Native American reservations, invisible histories, and parental loss are just a few of the heavy topics Park plumbs with grace while making them accessible for young readers. Hanna is a relatable heroine struggling to overcome ignorance and racism both firmly and kindly, all while seeking what she most desperately wants-acceptance for who she is. VERDICT A sometimes uncomfortable yet triumphant story from the world of "Little House on the Prairie" told through a marginalized perspective; this is a must-read for middle grades and beyond.-Emily Beasley, Omaha Public Schools

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from March 1, 2020
    Grades 5-7 *Starred Review* In her latest middle-grade historical-fiction masterpiece, Park conjures the resourceful and industrious spirit of America's westward expansion without ignoring the ugly veneer of racism that pushed Native Americans off their land and overlooked the contributions of Asian immigrants in the settling of the West. Hanna, a half-Chinese girl born in California, and her white father move to the Dakota Territory following the death of her mother. Upon settling in LaForge, the family encounters racism both overt (the town's parents pull their children from the only school so they won't have to learn with Hanna) and insidious (her father is afraid to let her become their store's seamstress, for fear that people would think he was keeping her as his Chinese slave). After she is assaulted while running errands, gossiping townspeople withdraw their support for her father's fledgling business, and the success of the enterprise is thrown into doubt. Fortunately, Hanna's ingenuity and courage lead her to a solution that saves the store's opening and shows that there are townspeople she can count on. A well-rounded and wonderfully readable effort, Park's book includes well-researched Native American customs and history that bring the wide-ranging effects of Manifest Destiny politics into sharp focus without sounding like a history textbook. An incredible and much-needed addition to the historical-fiction canon.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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