Wednesday, April 1, 2020
46. Prairie Lotus
First sentence: “Should be our last day,” Papa said when they stopped to make camp.
Premise/plot: Hanna and her father are newly moved to Dakota territory; the year is 1880. Her dad will be opening up a dress goods shop once the building is completed. Hanna, meanwhile, hopes to graduate with her diploma and fulfill her mom’s dream. But it won’t be easy because Hanna is half-Chinese. There is some question whether she’ll be allowed to attend school. She doesn’t need the diploma, but she wants it. Her dream is to be a dress maker, a seamstress.
My thoughts: I loved this one so much. As I was reading this one I kept asking myself, are these characters inspired by Little House?! In particular the social scenes with the other kids. I was so pleased to read the author’s note and learn that yes she was inspired to write her own twist to Wilder’s books. Growing up, Park wanted to be Laura’s best friend. As she continued to grow and mature she realized that Laura probably would not have been allowed to be her friend. That Ma would have probably looked down upon her, that her prairie experience would have been completely different—even more challenging. What would it be like to be an Asian pioneer?! Plenty has been written about Chinese settlers in California, but this may be the first—probably is the first for young children—about settling further East.
I found the book to be well written, and the characters well drawn. I loved that Hanna was able to make friends with Bess!
© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers