March 28, 2020

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:26 pm by suebe2

Prairie Lotus
by Linda Sue Park
Clarion Books

It is 1880 when Hanna and her Papa arrive in LaForge in the Dakota Territory.  Hanna is excited to learn that the town has a school. She’s never been to school before and hopes that this will be the place.  Mama used to tutor her but she has been dead for three long, sad years.  Hanna promised Mama that she would graduate and she wants to keep that promise.

Papa plans to open a dress goods shop and he knows tht any bad blood between his family and other residents could jeopardize the shop.  While he works on construction, Hanna organizes the materials that arrive to fill the shop, but she has to stay hidden.  Hanna is half Asian and many people make assumptions about what she will be like.

It is really hard to write about this book without detailing the entire plot.  There is just so much to it!

Readers will learn about prairie life, setting up a business, and what life was like for anyone who was not white.  In her author’s note, Linda Sue Park discusses how much she loved the Little House books as a child although as someone of Korean descent she loathed the overt racism of Ma’s hatred of Native American’s and Pa’s performance in black face.

For Park, the solution was this – to write a book that shows what life would have been like for an Asian girl on the prairie.  Park did her research and quickly realized that while she couldn’t get away with making Hanna Korean, she could be part Korean as certainly many Chinese were.

As I read this, I relived my love of the Little House books.  But I also wished this book had come out while my mom, a noteworthy seamstress, was still alive.  She would have loved the details about dressmaking and adapting patterns.

This book is definitely a much needed addition to the classroom and library bookshelf, creating a more complete picture of life on the American prairie.



1 Comment »

  1. […] she is half Asian. I’ll let you read the book yourself (or read my review) to see why that’s a […]

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