Snow Angel, Sand Angel (Lois-Ann Yamanaka)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Snow Angel, Sand Angel, written by Lois-Ann Yamanaka and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky, a unique twist on the concept of “the grass is always greener”.

Claire has lived her entire life, like her father and grandfather, on the Big Island of Hawai’i; yet what would be considered a paradise for so many is a sometimes a source of frustration for Claire. When she and her brother Timbo have a school project on the seasons, Claire is irritated to be assigned “winter”; she’s never even seen real snow. Her father offers to take her to the top of Mauna Kea to see the snow there, but Claire is disappointed to find that the rocky mountainscape is nothing like the winter wonderlands in her books or on tv. She wishes she could be a snow angel, and fly somewhere with a “real” winter. Yet, on New Year’s Eve, her family has a beach day, and through some inventive play – and time spent with her family – Claire begins to appreciate the unique and beautiful charms of her home.

One-of-a-kind. Created by an author and illustrator who themselves were born, raised, and live in Hawai’i, the authenticity and affection in the portrayal of Claire’s connection to the islands is palpable. Particularly engaging is Claire’s attitude towards the island’s warm climate, and how a child wishing for a white winter might resent this, even while appreciating her family’s heritage and history with her home. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young readers to examine a perspective outside their own – or for readers who may also experience this frustration, an opportunity to feel heard. The illustrations are gorgeous, filled with color palettes and styles that evoke Hawaiian culture and folk art. A glossary with pronunciation guide in the backmatter is highly appreciated for haoles like me who might be reading aloud. The story is lengthy and best for older elementary readers, but JJ enjoyed the story a lot, as did I. This is a wonderfully unique story, and definitely worth checking out – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)