Handa’s Surprise

Regional focus:  Kenya

Author:  Eileen Browne

Genre:  Children’s literature

Take a trip to young Handa’s Kenya where you will learn of the fruits, animals and terrain of her village in Eileen Browne’s playful story, Handa’s Surprise. Handa plans to surprise her best friend, Akeyo with a basket of fruit and wonders what fruit she will most like. Little does she know that the true surprise is on her.

What I love:

  • Browne’s illustrations are lush and vibrant.
  • Children are engaged with the element of surprise that is woven into the text.

Themes:  friendship, kindness


  • What acts of kindness have you delivered to your friends?
  • How do we know that someone is a good friend?
  • What fruits are grown in your region of the world?
  • What animals do you see when you walk in your neighborhood?


  • Rewrite the story as “Child’s Name” Surprise. Use fruits and vegetables  that are found in his/her life.
  • Investigate a new fruit or animal from Handa’s Surprise.
  • Young children can  create a paper weaving  like Handa’s basket and practice over/under patterns.