Back in February, between snow and ice-filled books, little gosling uncovered this lovely story that was our outing to the park story last summer. He regularly digs it out, almost like a feel-good prop. I’ve long felt his biological clock must be set on Southern times, waking up at 4.30-5.00 am every morning, as we did in South Africa, so it only seems natural that he connects so strongly in the middle of the Northern winter and snowstorms outside our window, with hot sunshine, barefoot walking and mangoes :P.
In “Anna Hibiscus’ Song” by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia, Anna Hibiscus explores her extended family’s ways to express happiness, until discovering her own. There is counting the reasons why, holding the loved one’s hand or telling them “I love you”, the quiet contemplation or dancing, working or walking on one’s hands. Whilst all are valid, Anna feels inspired by the birdies that keep her company up in the mango tree in the middle of the family yard, to sing, to sing about everything that she sees and makes her heart burst with happiness.
I just love this book! I love the intimate vibe, the conviviality of sharing a home with the extended family, the sheer joy it exudes in the simplest and most familiar context possible. Little gosling was fascinated (and a little intrigued) with Anna Hibiscus and her cousins running around barefoot. He also promptly asked to visit his grandparents, so that we could climb trees in the garden together.. So, that’s two things we have on our to do list when the weather gets warmer, although I was not the climbing trees kind of kid growing up. The walking on our hands part we can do already in our living room :P. As for ways to express happiness, smiling blissfully while sitting still is what seems to be working these days. I saw him smiling without an immediate reason the other day, laying back in his chair at the dinner table; when I asked what made him smile, he simply said: “I am happy” :). Singing also works, but only if it’s about his best friends, the kitchen robot and the mixer :))))). What I like most about the book is that it reminds me the delicious taste of my favourite jam: the mango jam…
Such a great reminder of the importance to share all the good emotions, feelings and sensations with the loved ones.