Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

In this beautifully written picture book, Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s only a beginner, and she’s had only three lessons. Her brothers insist she isn’t good enough. “It’s a talent show, Hana,” they tell her. “You’ll be a disaster!” Hana remembers how wonderfully her talented grandfather, or Ojiichan, played his violin when she was visiting him in Japan. So, just like Ojiichan, Hana practices every day. She is determined to play her best. When Hana’s confidence wavers on the night of the show, however, she begins to wonder if her brothers were right.

Join the discussion of Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin as well as other books sharing “What/who empowers young children in their lives?” on our My Take/Your Take page.

One thought on “Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

  1. Marilyn Carpenter & Holly Johnson says:

    To finish out the month, there is the delightful book from Canada, Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin (Uegaki and Leng, 2014). Hana is a young violinist who has decided to play in her school’s talent show. Her brothers assert she will be a disaster, but she remembers her first experience of the violin. Her grandfather was the second violin in Kyoto, Japan and he played each day as part of his practice. When Hana and her brothers visited one summer, he played for Hana and her brothers under the stars, and when he played the song with the crow cawing for its seven chicks, the music resonated within Hana. Her father could make all kinds of music come from the violin and it inspired Hana. Resisting her brothers’ ridicule as she practiced daily—just like her grandfather—Hana’s passion and her grandfather’s inspiration worked as her “bolt cutters.” When Hana played the music of her passion at the talent show, it was her grandfather she saw, not the audience. Her brothers came to appreciate Hana’s unique gift at the violin.
    This is a lovely book that can be used to discuss passion and perseverance that have the power to resist those who would suggest we aren’t good enough. I loved the connection between the grandfather in Japan and Hana in Canada, and how distance cannot weaken the inspiration others give us. What do you think of this book, Becca? It is a somewhat quiet book—similar to the mood in Wall (Cole, 2014), but the determination and resistance of the young is truly inspiring.
    This is a quiet book and it reminds me of both Shh! We Have a Plan and Rules of Summer. Hana reminds me of the smallest friend who realizes that giving to the bird allows one to be closer. Hana works tirelessly to give to her passion and finds many gather around her when she does so. As depicted in Rules of Summer, sibling relationships are dynamic and complicated. Despite the “rules” her brothers place on her, telling her she is not good enough to play in the talent show, and she is only a beginner, she finds a way to play the game. In the end, her brothers are her greatest fans and she realizes time, practice, determination, and an enduring connection to her grandfather, she too could be a talented violin player. Like all of these wonderful stories we have discussed, this text too has a number of layers to be lifted and understood.

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