Hawai’i

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

Fiction:

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Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis and illustrated by Kenard Pak

Paperback | Hardcover

Join the family, or ohana, as they farm taro for poi to prepare for a traditional luau celebration with a poetic text in the style of The House That Jack Built. Award winning.

  • Reading age : 4 – 8 years
  • Publisher : Neal Porter Books; Illustrated edition (February 4, 2020)
  • ISBN-10 : 0823443264
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0823443260

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

Hardcover

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 Sharks by Lee Wardlaw (1997)

Hardcover

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)

Hardcover

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


Luka’s Quilt by Georgia Guback (1994)

Hardcover

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

  • Ages: 4 up
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • ISBN 978-0-688-12154-9


Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono (2005)

Hardcover

Gentle picture book for the youngest set.

  • Reading age : 2 – 4 years
  • Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 18, 2005)
  • ISBN-10 : 0316735914
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0316735919

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

Hardcover

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

  • Reading age : 4 – 7 years
  • Publisher : HMH Books for Young Readers; 0 edition (May 25, 2004)
  • ISBN-10 : 0618356118
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0618356119

A more recent edition

Kindle | Paperback

  • Publisher : Manoa Press (September 28, 2020)
  • ISBN-10 : 1891839276
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1891839276

Middle Grade

Dance for the Land by Clemence McLaren (1999)

Hardcover

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)

Kindle | Paperback | Mass Market Paperback | Hardcover

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

  • Reading age : 12 – 17 years
  • Publisher : Laurel Leaf; Reissue edition (May 1, 1994)
  • ISBN-10 : 0440219051
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0440219057


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

Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback | Library binding

This book is the account of a Japanese American who enlists in the US Army during World War II.

(Middle grade +)

  • Reading age : 12 – 17 years
  • Publisher : Ember; Reprint edition (September 9, 2014)
  • ISBN-10 : 0385386567
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0385386562

Jungle Dogs by Graham Salisbury (1999)

Paperback | Hardcover

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

  • Reading age : 9 – 12 years
  • Publisher : Yearling (November 9, 1999)
  • ISBN-10 : 044041573X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0440415732

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

Paperback | Hardcover

This part of the Dear America series gives insights into the events of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

  • Reading age : 9 – 12 years
  • Publisher : Scholastic Inc.; 1st edition (October 1, 2001)
  • ISBN-10 : 0439328748
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0439328746


Nonfiction:

A is for Aloha by U’ilani Goldsberry and illustrated by Tammy Yee, (2005) 

Kindle | Hardcover

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 Onizuka by Stephanie Cham (2018)

Kindle | Paperback | Library Binding

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)

Paperback | Hardback

Informational reference book about the islands.

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

Hawai’i Volcanoes by Karina Hamalainen

Paperback | Hardback

Informational reference book about two of the most active volcanoes on Earth, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.

  • Reading age : 8 – 10 years
  • Publisher : Children’s Press; Illustrated edition (October 1, 2018)
  • ISBN-10 : 0531135020
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0531135020

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