#WomenReadWomen2019 Books DiverseKidLit Features Genre Picture Books Reading Themes Warrior Women and Social Justice

[DiverseKidLit] A Tiny Fisherperson in “Hand Over Hand”

What to do when you are told "A boat is not the place for a girl."

Myra here.

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit of 2019! If you are a parent, grandparent, caregiver, teacher, or librarian looking for amazing diverse kidlit recommends to share with your young readers, you will love this recurring monthly resource of diverse book reviews.

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Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

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We have a #WomenReadWomen2019 reading theme which we have just recently launched. As we celebrate warrior women during the first quarter of the year, I thought I better start with simple acts of rebellion, indicative of quiet power that echoes far and wide.

Hand Over Hand

Written by Alma Fullerton Illustrated by Renné Benoit
Published by Second Story Press (2017)
ISBN: 1772600156 (ISBN13: 9781772600155). Book was borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.

Nina wanted to go fishing with her grandfather more than anything in the world. However, each time that she would volunteer her services, she is told:

A boat is not the place for a girl. Your job is on shore.

Set in a remote fishing village in the Philippines, Nina persisted and convinced her Lolo that she is perfectly capable of baiting her own hook and removing her own fish.

While other fishermen taunted Nina and acted fairly surprised that she was with her Lolo, I appreciated how the latter committed to having Nina along with him and quietly ignored everyone else’s pejorative remarks.

There is a sense of agency here that is highly commendable. While I am not a huge fan of the art which I thought seemed dull and uninspired; the typography and overall design / layout also left much to be desired, I enjoyed the cadence and the rhythm of hand over hand, and the lilting language.

It would be good to pair this book with stories of other girls who persisted despite being told that they are not supposed to be doing what only boys are expected to do – see below.

Meet Elena who was told that she could not be a glassblower because she was a girl in Elena’s Serenade (see my review here).

Meet Millo who persisted in becoming a drummer even when told that she couldn’t – because only boys are allowed to play the drums in Drum Dream Girl (see my review here).

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#WomenReadWomen2019: 3 of 25: Country – Canada (Benoit is from Ontario) | USA (Fullerton is from the US)

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “[DiverseKidLit] A Tiny Fisherperson in “Hand Over Hand”

  1. Loved this story about a very determined little girl proving she is capable of fishing and helping.

    Myra, I don’t like this new link system. Last time I couldn’t link. Today I linked but it won’t allow me to comment on other links. I used my FB login, but when I clicked and left a message on other links it said my email was spam. Finally gave up.


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