Stories from Hawai‘i: Books for Kids

Hawaiian family together

These books highlight and celebrate Hawaiian culture and language, as well as notable Hawaiians such as surfer Duke Kahanamoku.

'Ohana Means Family

Hawaiian family together
Illustrated by: Kenard Pak
Age Level: 3-6, 6-9
Language: Hawaiian

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.

Kohala Kuamo'o: Nae'ole's Race to Save a King

Kohala Kuamo'o: Nae'ole's Race to Save a King
Illustrated by: Aaron Kawai'ae'a
Age Level: 9-12
Language: Hawaiian

When a prophecy proclaims that the unborn Kamehameha would grow to overshadow the ruling chiefs, his life from birth is in danger. Nae'ole races with the helpless infant across the Kohala district of Hawai'i Island to bring Kamehameha to safety. Three generations of the Kawai'ae'a family join together to give us this unique look at place names of the Kohala area and the important events that shaped Hawaiian history. Bilingual edition.

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku

Illustration of Duke Kahanamoku

"The Pacific Ocean was Duke's backyard." So begins the tale of Duke Kahanamoku, often considered the "Father of Modern Surfing." Duke won six Olympic medals as a swimmer, but surfing was his passion. Duke, who encountered discrimination throughout his lifetime, was also a hero, saving eight people singlehandedly from a capsized boat in 1925. Readers will enjoy discovering the story behind Duke's unforgettable legacy.

The Last Princess: The Story of Princess Ka'iulani

Painting of Princess Ka'iulani
Age Level: 6-9

Hawai'i was once an independent country ruled by a royal family. But, while Princess Ka'iulani was at school in England in the 1800s, the small island nation became part of the United States — and she never got a chance to become queen. This intriguing, quiet, bittersweet story presents a little known period and a real-life princess.

Uncle's Magic Thrownet

Young boy and an older relative with a net
Illustrated by: Jamie Meckel Tablason
Age Level: 6-9

Uncle's magic thrownet was magic indeed. It could catch every fish that there was in the sea. But a young visitor soon finds that all is not what it seems with Uncle's old net. Set in the warmth of the Hawaiian islands, generosity, conservation, integenerational learning, and discovery are all shared in this new classic fishing tale.