Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 5 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 5 to 8
Nina can’t convince her Lolo to take her fishing with him on his old banca boat. Lolo’s reply is the same as always: “A boat is no place for a girl.” When Nina promises to bait her own hook and remove her own catch, her grandfather finally relents “just for today.” Much to the amusement of the other fishermen in their village, lolo shows Nina how to jig the lines, to set the hook, and to pull in a fish, hand over hand. But no one is laughing when Nina brings in the biggest fish of the day!
About the authors
Alma Fullerton was born in Ottawa Ontario, as one of seven children. Her dad was in the military so they moved when his postings changed, first to Trenton when she was two, then to Comox when she was twelve. Being dyslexic, she couldn’t read until grade four and didn’t enjoy reading at all until grade nine, when she discovered books that she really loved. Now that she is as an award-winning author, Alma visits schools to teach children that they, too, can overcome any obstacle.Her first three books are: In the Garage (2006); Walking on Glass (2007), which was named to the 2008 YALSA Quick Pick list; and Libertad (2008), which has won and been nominated for many awards, including the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature (finalist), the 2009 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (finalist), the 2009 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award (winner), the 2009 CLA Children’s Book of the Year Honor Book, the 2009 Golden Oak Award (winner), the 2009 Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award (winner), and the 2010 Silver Birch Award (shortlist).
Renné Benoit is living her childhood dream of being an artist. Trained in graphic design, she is the award-winning illustrator of more than 15 books for children. Her awards include the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award for Children's Literature for Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion; the OLA Silver Birch Express Award for The Secret of the Village Fool; and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize for both Fraser Bear and Goodbye to Griffith Street. The latter was also nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award. Big City Bees was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration, and A Year of Borrowed Men was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, among others. Renné lives in St. Thomas, Ontario.
- Commended, Amelia Bloomer Project Top Ten Feminist Books for Young Readers
- Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens - Fall 2017
Alma Fullerton's free verse brings this heartwarming tale to life... a wonderful addition to any diverse book collection.
Canadian Children's Book News
An original and consistently entertaining story by Alma Fullerton that is colorfully and charmingly illustrated by Renné Benoit, "Hand Over Hand" is especially recommended for children ages 5 to 8 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.
Midwest Book Review
In this deceptively complex 24-page book, Fullerton has filled her simple words, repeated phrases, and clear dialogue with the possibility for many interpretations. Children can achieve their goals. Girls can do anything they set their minds to. Be self-sufficient, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Finish what you start. Don’t give up. Children and adults alike will be able to choose the message that speaks to them, and one surely will.... Hand Over Hand is a perfect read-aloud book for groups of younger children. The illustrations are uncomplicated but still eye-catching, the text is poetic, and the book truly has something to say.
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
Fullerton presents a vignette of traditional Filipino culture with a modern twist. Sounds of the sea and the boat's movements, repetition of the title phrase, sharp descriptive phrases, and simple dialogue, all in a gentle, unhurried third-person narrative, lovingly evoke the setting and the tender intergenerational relationship. Benoit's watercolor illustrations beautifully capture the look of the islands with color and softly defined details. Love between Nina and old Lolo shines in their body language and expressions. A sweet tale that is both culturally specific and universal.
An excellent story set in the Philippines that speaks to every child about personal achievement.
Hand Over Hand is a story of empowerment and determination when faced with naysayers and traditions that keep opportunities at bay. Alma Fullerton’s simple story is loaded with lessons in seeing beyond gender, of courage to take on new struggles, both emotional and physical, and of the amazing things that can be accomplished with a supportive hand.
CanLit for Little Canadians
The gentle text pairs well with the equally gentle watercolor illustrations, bringing to life a quiet Filipino fishing village. This aesthetic works flawlessly with the overall theme of “hand over hand,” that patience and persistence will quietly guide readers to achieve their goals.
School Library Journal
Not only does Hand Over Hand depict a young girl successfully pushing against gender role expectations, Nina and Lolo’s loving relationship shows just how much can be accomplished through trust and patience.... A gently compelling story, Hand Over Hand is highly recommended for readers of all ages and is especially well-suited to being read aloud.
National Reading Campaign