Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hannah’s Winter by Kierin Meehan

hannah Hannah’s mother has an irritating habit of speaking in capital letters, which is pretty funny (“Living in Japan will be a WONDERFUL experience for you.”)  Hannah can speak and understand some Japanese from when she lived in Japan as a toddler, but she doesn’t read or write it well, so her mother sees her upcoming trip to Japan to research her next book –Surprising Japanese Gardeners (which Hannah says should be called Surprised Japanese Gardeners because they’d be very surprised after they’d met her and seen her bright purple hair) –as the perfect opportunity for Hannah to learn at least 1,000 kanji.  Hannah is to stay with the Maekawas, who have a daughter, Miki, about her age.  Miki and Hannah turn out to be well matched, especially when it comes to solving the mystery of an ancient riddle that turns up in an antique box that was a gift to Mr. Maekawa.  The riddle leads to some pretty alarming meetings with a ghost/spirit who turns out to be a mischievous boy, and some more alarming meetings with various spirits trying to prevent them from helping the boy, who they nickname “Ocean Boy.” Hannah’s Winter will give you a real sense of Japanese culture, both modern and ancient, and the mystery is fun, too.  Review by Stacy Church

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