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Hannah, an eight year old Canadian girl, is powerless in the decision that has been made by her parents to move to a tiny island in the Japan Inland Sea. Once on the island she and her brother Taro are enrolled in the local elementary school. Iwagijima, like most of Japan’s rural islands, has suffered great depopulation. Many of the villagers are elderly. The few children growing up on the island have been together since birth. They are a very tight knit and insular group – and one that has had little experience with outsiders.
Hannah at first resents Taro who, because he was adopted from Japan, is somehow responsible for the plight in which she now finds herself. However, she soon realizes that her brother, brought up by Canadians, is as much out of place as she is. Together they face head on the challenges of a new language, culture and country and come to discover the wonders and magic of life on this tiny island.
From hand-lining for sardines and late night jungle hunts for the rhinocerous beetle to Taro’s triumph over the schoolyard bully and Mother’s success at calming the concerns of curious neighbours, life on Iwagijima would without a doubt become a family adventure to remember.
‘Hannah Chan’ is a series of delightful vignettes about the adventures of Hannah and her family on the island of Iwagijima, Japan. Clearly and beautifully written in lyrical prose, Hannah Chan is a joy to read.