Hannah's Winter

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
Hannah is not looking forward to spending several months in Japan while her mother researches a new book, but she is left with little choice against the force of her mother's will. Hannah and her family lived in Tokyo for several years before moving to Australia and so can speak Japanese fluently; but Hannah does not know the family that her mother wants her to stay with and cannot imagine why she should spend months in Japan when she could be home with her father and brother. But Hannah fits in with the Maekawa family better than she imagined and is quickly drawn into a centuries old mystery. Japanese folklore is full of spirits and ghosts and the Maekawa family has always been able to sense the presence of otherworldly entities. Meehan has written an engaging story that provides a glimpse into present and past Japanese family life as well as offering a tantalizing glimpse into Japanese folklore. The text is straightforward and fascinating and makes the reader eager to see a satisfying conclusion to the mystery that Hannah is pulled into. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

When Hannah's writer mother travels from Australia to Japan to do research for a new book, she takes her reluctant daughter with her. While Liana travels throughout the country, the 12-year-old stays with her mother's friends, the Maekawas. She is able to converse with the family as she spent time in Japan when she was younger and has been studying Japanese at school. Hannah is soon swept up in a mystery with her new friend, Miki Maekawa. Opening an old toy box, the family finds a riddle that appears to be an appeal for help from "the ocean boy," a lost soul seeking peace. The girls and their friend Hiro set out to solve the riddle, traveling to markets, temples, shrines, and an ancient castle and meeting people from the past who aid or hinder their quest. Following the realistic and likable characters on their journey gives insight into the beauty of Japanese culture and tradition, and the fast-paced action as the children figure out the clues will appeal to many readers.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD

Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Australian Hannah has been sent to spend the winter with Japanese family friends in Kanazawa so she can improve her ability to speak the language. She and 13-year-old Miki find a written message in an old box of papers. It outlines a series of mysterious steps that both girls quickly realize they are inadvertently following, after a nighttime tour of a temple and a strange encounter with a singing monk. As readers raptly follow the deepening fantasy, they will find themselves flipping pages time after time to reread the message. Determined to fit in, Hannah makes a few humorous missteps (bowing self-consciously and smacking her head on a table that's in the way), all of which keep the tale lighthearted and make her seem endearingly real. Meehan utilizes beautifully crafted similes and metaphors as she creates a loving and detailed portrayal of Japan and its people. Told in the first person, the tale remains so grounded in reality that it never defies belief. A fine fantasy debut (first published in Australia in 2001). (author's note) (Fantasy. 10 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933605982
  • Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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