Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

Anna Hibiscus

Written by Atinuke
Part of the Anna Hibiscus Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2008. Original and understated, this charming depiction of modern-day family life in west Africa is the debut from a fresh, new storytelling voice. Pacy and engaging Anna Hibiscus is perfect for the newly independent reader and extensively illustrated to build reader confidence.

Comments from the judges of this year's Branford Boase, Best Debut Novel of
the Year Award:

Nikki Gamble: “This year a large number of books were submitted for the awards and the judges noted an increase in established adult writers producing first novels for children. These trends reflect the increased profile of children's books in the press and media as well as the commercial success. The books selected for the shortlist are marked by their distinctive voices and authentic feeling for child or teenage readers. They are accessible but explore profound themes in the context of a story well told”.

Linda Buckley-Archer: “With its aim of recognising the author of the best debut novel for children and its editor(s), The Branford Boase Award continues to highlight and promote the next generation of children’s fiction writers. The 2008 shortlist represents some fascinating new voices across a variety of genres which are sure to excite and challenge readers. The judges noted a tendency on this year’s longlist away from fantasy and towards history and social realism.”

Trish Beswick: “We were delighted to find a spread of intelligent fiction submitted, eliciting spirited discussion amid the good humour and agreements. One-size-fits-all cannot and does not belong in the world of writing for children, and the complacent and bland were quickly cast aside. My thanks to the other judges for a booky, sparky afternoon!”

Ian Dodds: "The nominations for the 2008 Branford Boase Award yet again demonstrate the full range of new writing talent for children and young people. All the writers on this year's shortlist have distinct voices and all are adept at creating stories that will grip, excite and challenge young readers. Good writing for young people is vitally important and this shortlist proves that."


Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa. She lives with her whole family in a wonderful house. There is always someone to laugh or play with. She loves to splash in the sea with her cousins and have parties for her aunties. But more than anything else in the world, Anna would love to see snow.


This is a wonderful collection of colourful, warm and lively stories to be read over and over. Primary Times A series of lively, captivating tales. The Scotsman In her first novel, storyteller Atinuke guides us through Anna's throughly modern multicultural life and family and Lauren Tobia's evocative illustrations spill around the text. Juno An interesting read in which we learn to appreciate the joys of African life. Cork Evening Echo Memorable and enchanting. School Library Journal A life-affirming way to encourage your child to celebrate simple joys Junior a story of sizzling happiness that starts small and grows irrepressibly...her township is beautifully drawn...a book to put - and keep - a smile on your face The Observer There are so many reasons to love the Anna Hibiscus books as wonderful stories with beautiful illustrations; but the inclusion of a mixed-race family and unfamiliar cultural setting make these important books to share with every child Child-Led Chaos

About the Author


As A Child - I was born in Ibadan, in south-west Nigeria. I remember it as a city of dusty red roads, of bungaloos buried under flowers, of botanical gardens. When I was five my father got a "a good job" in the capital city of Lagos. A city of polo clubs and swimming pools and slums. We went to live behind the high walls of a mansion in a quiet part of the city, and left our extended family behind. This is where my love affair with books and stories began, locked behind the great iron gates of the lonely house. Throughout my childhood I wanted firstly and desperately to be a Boy, then an Adventurer, and lastly, An Author. Two of these were impossible (I was told) and one was dangerous. Forget it. So I carried on reading instead. I read Enid Blyton books and it sounded fun. At 10 years old, after a campaign of cajoling and persuading, my parent agreed to send me to boarding school in England. And that was, effectively, the end of my childhood.

As an adult
As soon as I could, I gave up all subjects but storybooks and went off to study literature. I wrote 10,000 words one year to get over a lost love and got into Oxford instead. But the writing I had to do there was so dry that I left. I decided to go Adventuring instead. I lived and travelled in England and France, Morocco and Germany and Spain, sleeping like a nomad on beaches and mountainsides. I sang for my supper, painted portraits, weeded gardens, worked as an artist's model and lived in a round mud hut in the wild wet woods of Wales. One day, pregnant with my first son, I told a story to some bored children at a festival and that's when my proper job found me! I haven't stopped telling stories since.

As an artist
I got through the trials and tribulations of life by escaping into books and making up stories in my head. My journal stayed with me through all my adventures, crammed with poetry and reflections and questions. I told stories for a living (because I had been told it was impossible to be An Author - and I had believed them). Until one winter in Wales...too ill to get up and go out and tell stories. Too ill to go home to my father-land. I found myself in the circumstances in which I write best (alone and bored and empty) and I wrote about what I was missing... I wrote Anna Hibiscus.

Things you didn't know about Atinuke
My favourite chocolate is peppermint and vanilla flavour.
I love wearing Big Boots and stomping about the place.
My favourite place to live would be...right on the beach.
I was old before I met the love of my life (sometimes you have to wait a long time for your fairy tale dreams to come true).
I live in my dream house. A wooden house my husband built...which isn't finished yet!
I live on a mountain called Angel Mountain, my favourite place to be.
If I could have/do anything it would be to have a world that works together for the good of the whole planet.
I love to knit socks.
If in doubt...I go to bed, it's the best place to hole up.
I love to whirl like Rumi.

You can see Atinuke in this video, reading from The No. 1 Car Spotter:

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Book Info


112 pages
Interest Age: From 6


More books by Atinuke

Author's Website


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

1st October 2007




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