Middle Grade Book Review: Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Hey everyone, this is Sarah!

I started this book because it was getting Newbery buzz, unfortunately it didn’t place, but I finished it anyway.

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Title: Prairie Lotus

Author: Linda Sue Park

Summary:

After losing her mother, Hanna and her father move eastward away from their California town. They plan to set up a dress goods store. Hanna hopes to one day sew the dresses for the store, just as her mother did when she was alive, but first she plans on graduating from school. However, Hanna faces opposition from more than just her father, because she is part Chinese, the townsfolk see her as other. Young Hanna is a determined and won’t let ignorant people get in the way of her dreams. Can Hanna achieve everything she sets out to?

Review:

As it states in the author’s note, this novel is a response and update of the Laura Ingalls Wilder novels about her life. Chinese people did exist in America at this time in history and Park explores their experience. The ending did seem to fall flat and wrapped very quickly. There was great care taken with setting up the book, but it stalled at the end. I think this is an important story to tell, though I wonder if it remains problematic in regard to the Native Americans. What do you think? Did the author provide a more inclusive/less racist alternative to Wilder?

Rating:

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