We’ve made it to our #4 of 10 Newbery predictions!
Please note that each title is appearing in no specific order other than publication date and that it is physically impossible for us to choose just ONE title to receive the Newbery medal, therefore we have narrowed it down to our top 10!
Newbery Prediction #4: Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
Publication Date: 03/03/2020
Publisher: Clarion Books
Find it on our website HERE.
Summary from the Publisher:
Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered 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.
Why have we chosen this title?
I can’t remember if I read about this in Linda Sue Park’s author’s note or in an interview, I believe it was in her author’s note. Park explains why she wrote Prairie Lotus – how she cherished and loved the Little House on the Prairie books when she was young but was always constantly aware of the lack of diverse representation of characters, as well as layers and layers of negative stereotypes throughout the stories. She wrote Prairie Lotus with that in mind, but through an incredibly refreshing lens. In an interview I read, Park said “Because history gets written by and about people who are in power and that’s who is featured in our historical narratives. But history isn’t just famous people and powerful people – history is all of us.”
With all of that in mind, let us now introduce you to Hanna, who is an incredibly smart, kind and hardworking half-Asian girl living in the Dakota Territory in the 1880s. She has hopes, dreams and goals and knows exactly what she wants to do to achieve them. Unfortunately, once her and her father make their trek from the west coast to a small town in the heartland, her white father at first feels it’s best for her to stay hidden worried about the discrimination she might experience once the townspeople understand her true identity. But what makes Hanna so incredible is how brave she is and how incredibly determined she is. She just wants to learn, to go to school and become a dressmaker. She has this incredible dressmaking skill she inherited from her deceased mother and knows she has what it takes. But it is not all smooth sailing, as nothing in life (especially at this time) is, she goes through so much yet somehow manages to process everything in her own special way. Her confidence jumps off of the page in a way that is truly inspiring to the reader. She quickly will become one of your most favorite characters. This book is so special because of its historical fiction component, a homage to a classic storytelling genre but with an incredibly refreshing approach, lens and character