Popular Hawaiʻi artist, author and designer Patrick Ching is known as “Hawaiʻiʻs Nature Artist,” and with good reason. His beautiful paintings and designs reflect a happy childhood roaming the upland forests of Pauoa Valley on Oʻahu. Patrick counts his time as a ranger at Kīlauea lighthouse on Kauaʻi and living among sea turtles and monk seals as some of his most treasured memories.
If youʻre a regular at my blog, you will notice something fun — a brand new banner! Itʻs not just pretty art (by talented local artist Dru Santiago.) Itʻs got some cool Hawaiʻi (and Hawaiian) features, too. To begin, weʻll look at just one: the three birds. Spot them in the banner above? Cute, right? But theyʻre not just any birds.
Native Hawaiian visionary Kēhau Noe is an artist and storyteller. Her media is computers, and her mission is to design programs that help people to interact with and learn from the environment. “The challenge of building software or games that take advantage of what technology affords us, but still be accessible and useful to the general person is fun to me, she says. “Software can be capable of performing complex and seemingly impossible tasks, but if the average person does not like to look at it, or can’t understand how to interface it, then not many people will use it. Her innovative storytelling immerses viewers in the Native Hawaiian world view. We are pleased to feature this trailblazer on our blog today.
It’s a fact of the marketplace that many picture books with the unfortunate timing of being released during the COVID pandemic were often not given the attention they deserved. And that’s really too bad, because they merit space on our bookshelves. Punky Aloha, the debut picture book by talented author/illustrator Shar Tuiʻasoa, is one of these hidden gems. Released in mid-2020 during the height of the pandemic, Punky is just the kind of delightful story kids — and their grown-ups — will love.
Talented picture book illustrator Jing Jing Tsong is a master at her craft. Influenced by the principles of monoprint and traditional stone lithography, Jing Jing layers colors and textures to create images that are engaging and compelling. Their visual and emotional appeal communicate a visual experience for young readers and their grown-ups. “In everything I practice,” she says, “I explore the interconnectedness of being.” We are very pleased to talk story with illustrator Jing Jing Tsong.
Some picture books are classics. They tell timeless tales that teach us about the world and our place in it. One such classic also happens to be one of the first Native Hawaiian-themed books written in an authentic voice. Too Many Mangoes by Tammy Paikai is a story based on the author’s childhood experience. This gentle story is about two Hawaiian kids, Kama and Nani, who love to climb the mango tree at their grandpaʻs house. One day grandpa asks them to pick some mangoes, but when he realizes that the kids have picked way too many for their family to eat, he instructs them to give the mangoes away to their neighbors. Thus the adventure begins.