Like most Native Hawaiians, author Gabrielle Ahuliʻi grew up hearing the beloved legends passed down from generation to generation. Best known for her popular series, Hawaiian Legends for Little Ones, and now for her first graphic novel, Hi’iaka and Panaewa, Gabrielle beautifully retells these classic stories for today’s young readers and their grown-ups.
Welcome to a new occasional series about learning from mentor text picture books!
I love picture books, those wildly colorful, wonderfully imaginative works of children’s literature. Some picture books are so good that every time I read one, I always come away with something new — a fact I didn’t know, an exciting idea I hadn’t thought of, a point of view I hadn’t considered — in a small, easy-to-read, beautifully illustrated package. As a writer, I use mentor texts to improve my storytelling skills.
Native Hawaiian artist Solomon Enos is a modern-day Renaissance man: a sought-after artist, book illustrator, muralist, sculptor, and game designer. His beautiful pieces have been exhibited at multiple public venues, including the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum, and the prestigious Smithsonian Museum Asian Pacific American Center. Google, Pixar, and Disneyʻs Aulani Resort are among his famous clients.
Lei and the Fire Goddess by Malia Maunakea is a rare gem in kid lit: an epic coming-of-age story written by a Native Hawaiian author featuring Native Hawaiian characters. The story introduces twelve year old Lei, who goes by her English first name Anna, with all the snarkiness and insecurity and joy that are part of growing up. But it didn’t take long for me to get into the story. From the very moment she steps off that airplane, Lei is a fully developed, fully likeable character.
Malia Maunkea is Native Hawaiian author of middle grade and non-fiction. Her new novel, LEI AND THE FIRE GODDESS, a rollicking story about an adventurous Native Hawaiian twelve-year-old, is a rarity in childrenʻs literature: a story for middle grade kids written by an ʻōiwi author that features an ʻōiwi character. We are proud to feature Malia in todayʻs talk-story.
President of the American Library Association, Native Hawaiian Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada is a warrior. With politicized book bans on the rise, the nation’s librarians battle to protect intellectual freedom. Lessa works to strengthen the ALA’s commitment of keeping the nation’s libraries as safe spaces that offer everyone — regardless of their socio-economic status — free and equal access to news, information, and education. The fight is daunting, but Lessa and are all in:
We are resisters at our core. We protect all our patrons, uphold intellectual freedom, and serve our communities…