Hand Over Hand

Hand Over Hand


Written by Alma Fullerton and Illustrated by Renné Benoit


Who says girls can’t fish? 

When Nina asks her grandfather to take her fishing with him on his old banca boat, his answer is always the same: “A boat is not the place for a girl.”

But Nina is determined to go. She knows that if her lolo will show her how to jig the lines, to set the hook, and to pull in a fish, hand over hand, she can prove to everyone in their Filipino fishing village that she deserves her turn in the boat, girl or no!

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About the Author

Alma Fullerton is the award-winning author of the picture books A Good Trade, Community Soup and In a Cloud of Dust. She wrote Hand Over Hand after a young girl during a school visit asked her why there were so few children’s books set in the Philippines. Alma lives in Midland, Ontario.

About the Illustrator

Renné Benoit has illustrated many award-winning books, including The Secret of the Village Fool, Lily and the Paper Man, and When-I-was-a-little-girl. Renné works in her home studio in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Product Information

  • Release: April 4, 2017

  • $16.95 Hardcover with Jacket

  • 24 Pages

  • 8.5 x 8.5

  • Picture Book

  • Ages 5-8 / Grades 1-3

  • Lexile: 550L Guided Reading: N

  • ISBN: 9781772600155


  • Character Education
    > Family & Friendship
    > Self-Esteem
    > Strong Female Characters

  • Reflecting Diversity


  • Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens - Fall 2017

Praise for Hand Over Hand

"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." - Kirkus Reviews

"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. Highly recommended." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"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

"Alma Fullerton's free verse brings this heartwarming tale to life... a wonderful addition to any diverse book collection." - Canadian Children's Book News

"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

"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

"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

"An excellent story set in the Philippines that speaks to every child about personal achievement!" - Resource Links