Hand Over Hand by A. Fullerton
Fullerton, Alma. Hand Over Hand. Illustrated by Renné Benoit. Second Story Press, 2017.
Award-winning author of A Good Trade and In a Cloud of Dust, Alma Fullerton returns with another excellent picture book about a young Filipina girl who goes against gender stereotypes to go fishing with her grandfather. In Hand Over Hand, Nina convinces her grandfather, Lolo, to take her out fishing and with her determination and Lolo’s support she manages to catch a large fish. The story is portrayed through simple phrases with occasional onomatopoeia in large contrasting font on Benoit’s soft watercolour images to invoke a quietly empowering story.
I would recommend this book for educators and librarians not only because of the non-tokenizing nature of the representation of the Philippines or the theme of gender equality but also because of the way the illustrations and the story blend together to create a perfect storytime book for early readers to share or read alone. The illustrations are rich enough that early level readers will be entertained while the repetitive nature of the phrases and the vocabulary make it an excellent choice to grow a reader’s confidence. It also has the potential to be laddered into an activity where learners create a story of their own and use watercolours to illustrate their story which could appear to higher-level educators looking for an English and/or Art project for their classes.
Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Lorisia MacLeod
Lorisia MacLeod is the Online Reference Centre Coordinator with The Alberta Library (TAL) and a proud member of the James Smith Cree Nation. When not working on indigenization or diversity in librarianship, Lorisia enjoys reading almost any variation of Sherlock Holmes, comics, or travelling.
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