Kiddosphere: Say “Aloha” to Another Summer Reading Program – Books About Hawaii

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It’s hard to believe that we will wrap up our summer reading program on Saturday, August 4. We are excited to bring The Goodlife Theater to our libraries for a fantastic puppet show featuring Hawaiian legends and folktales. To get us into a Hawaiian state of mind, let’s look at some awesome books about our 50th state. 

Although Dumpling Soup is set just before New Year’s, it’s a sweet story for any time of the year. When Marisa is allowed to make the dumplings for her grandmother’s famous New Year’s soup, she worries that she will mess it up! Luckily, everything turns out fine, and New Year’s is celebrated with fireworks, family time and delicious dumpling soup. Like many Hawaiian families, Marisa’s family is ethnically mixed, including Korean, Hawaiian and Anglo heritage.

Froggy is super stoked for his Hawaiian vacation (who wouldn’t be)? Surfing, learning the hula dance, swimming in the ocean…it’s going to be a great time. However, as anyone who’s familiar with the Froggy series would know, Froggy gets into some mischief in paradise! Froggy Goes to Hawaii will be enjoyed by both Froggy veterans and those new to the series.

Luka’s Quilt is another charming granddaughter-grandmother story, although not without some drama! Luka’s grandmother is making her a traditional Hawaiian quilt for Lei Day, but they can’t agree on the colors that she should use. When the disagreement turns to hurt feelings, it jeopardizes the fun family and community spirit of the day. Thankfully, compromises are made just in time for the celebration.

Trickster tales are universal, so it’s always interesting to spot similarities and differences in various stories. Pig-Boy is quite the shape-shifter, and can avoid trouble just in time, even when facing the king or the goddess of fire (Pele), just as his grandmother has taught him. If you’re looking for a strong moral lesson at the end, you’ll probably be disappointed; if you just want a rollicking (and very colorful!) story that incorporates the Hawaiian landscape (volcanoes!) and Hawaiian mythology, pick up Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale From Hawai’i.

Princess Ka’iulani: Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People is a compelling and eye-opening book at the last heir to the Hawaiian monarchy, who tried to appeal for the Hawaiian people’s sovereignty. The annexation of Hawaii is a complicated and difficult subject; this is an ideal read for middle-grade students. Younger readers should consider The Last Princess: The Story of Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii.  Kaiulani: The People’s Princess, part of the excellent Royal Diaries series, is also a worthwhile read.

The Shark King features the popular Hawaiian tale of Nanaue. Nanaue has a human mother and a shark father (like Pig-Boy, the Shark King is a shape-shifter); as a result, he finds it difficult to fit in with his human community, and longs to find his father. Author-illustrator R. Kikuo Johnson grew up in Maui and created his unique spin on the Shark King folktale.

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku

Hawaii is a surfer’s paradise, so it’s no surprise that the surfer considered the “father of modern surfing” was a Hawaiian native. Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku introduces readers to this multiple Olympic swimming medalist, actor and sheriff whose surfing exhibitions made surfing a popular worldwide sport. This gorgeously illustrated picture book is perfect for those who love “meeting” new important figures through biographies.

Aloha to SRP 2018!

Jennifer Schultz, Collection Services Development Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

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