Going on a trip to Hawaii with your children? Find some great kid’s books to get them acquainted with the culture andlearn some history before you leave.


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Mele the Crab Finds the Way Out by Gail Omoto, with Jan and Judy Dill, and illustrated by Garrett Omoto(2007)

Mele the crab is a good athlete and always wins the the races. But that wins her no friends. It’s only when she learns about serving others that she truly wins.

  • Age Range: 5 - 6 years
  • Publisher: Partners in Development; 1 edition (November 1, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1933835095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933835099

Punia and the King of Sharksby Lee Wardlaw (1997)

Punia, who is a fisherman’s son, figures out ways to get lobsters away from the King of Sharks.

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Publisher: Dial Books; 1st edition (January 1, 1997)
  • ISBN-10: 0803716826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803716827

Pele and the Rivers of Fire by Michael Nordenstrom (2002)

Tells the tale of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.

  • Age Range: 3 and up
  • Publisher: Bess Press; English Language edition (August 15, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 1573060798
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573060790

Dear Katie, the Volcano Is a Girl by Jean Craighead George and illustrated by Daniel Powers (1998)

As her grandmother describes an eruption of a volcano in scientific terms, Katie thinks of it in mythical terms.

Luka's Quilt by Georgia Guback (1994)

Learn about the culture of Hawaii through the relationship of Luka and her grandmother.

Dance for the Land by Clemence McLaren (1999)

When Kate leaves California for Hawaii, she learns about Hawaiian sovereignty issues as well as herself.

Blue Skin of the Sea by Graham Salisbury (1994)

A series of short stories about growing up in Hawaii in the 1950's and 60's.

Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury (reprinted, 2014)

This book is the account of a Japanese American who enlists in the US Army during World War II (Middle grade +).

Jungle Dogs by Graham Salisbury (1999)

Also set in Hawaii, this novel follows main character Boy Regis through conflicts while growing up.

Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono (2005)

Gentle picture book for the youngest set.

Dog-of-the-Sea-Waves by James Rumford (2004)

Picture book fictional tale of the discovery of Hawaii, told in English and Hawaiian.

Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diaryof Amber Billows(Dear America Series) by Barry Denenberg

Insight into the events of Pearl Harbor.


A is for Aloha byU'ilani Goldsberry and illustrated by Tammy Yee,(2005)

Alphabet book written and illustrated by native Hawaiians.

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press; 1st edition (June 1, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 1585361461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585361465

Ellison Onizukaby Stephanie Cham (2018)

Simple biography of Ellison Shoji Onizuka, who was an American astronaut from Kealakekua, Hawaii. He flew into space with the Space Shuttle Discovery and was lost in the Challenger disaster.

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 1515799565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1515799566

Hawai’i(A True Book) by Joanne Mattern (2017)

Informational reference book about the islands.

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Publisher: Childrens Pr (September 1, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0531252558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531252550


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Roberta Gibson 2020