Librarian Award Brings YA Author to Molokai
By Ric Ornellas
Molokai High School (MHS) students who’ve read The Honeys by young adult (YA) author Ryan La Sala are thrilled the author is coming to MHS on Aug. 31. Diane Mokuau, MHS Librarian, received the 2021 School Librarian of the Year annual award presented by School Library Journal (SLJ) and sponsored by Scholastic. The pandemic interrupted Mrs. Mokuau’s preferred author’s visit until now. Scholastic’s Credo and Educational Platform inspires students to cultivate their minds to the utmost capacity, become familiar with our cultural heritage, and to strive for excellence in creative expression. Scholastic is a decade’s long book fair supplier to MHS and other Molokai schools. Ryan La Sala achieved national recognition among YA readers with Reverie, which Barnes and Nobles called “an intricate LGBT young adult book about the secret worlds we hide within ourselves and what happens when they become real.”
Mrs. Mokau says, “School libraries are inclusive and a safe place for all students. Students should be able to see themselves whether in ethnicity, gender, and their individual challenges of identity, values, and social acceptance in library books, resources, and activities.”
La Sala has agreed to Mrs. Mokuau’s requests to explain and work closely with students in the creative and writing process in two different sessions in the MHS Library.
In an email, La Sala wrote, “I’m so, so excited about this! Diane, please feel free to let us know what works best for you and your plans, and I’ll be sure to prepare accordingly…I’m very flexible so if there’s something specific you’d like me to focus on, just let me know!”
He will also meet with teachers at a Scholastic-sponsored lunch created by the MHS Culinary Club led by advisor, Tiare Hubbard. Working beyond his Scholastic Books agreement, La Sala will speak at a community book sharing and signing Thursday, Aug. 31, at the Molokai Public Library from 5 to 6 p.m. Along with the book talk, a community panel will focus on today’s adults — most coming-of-age in the 20th century – as well as being aware and able to develop sensitivity to current young 21st century adults experiencing emerging personal issues of identity, values, and sexuality in our never known before, fast-paced-total-digital age. La Sala’s book, The Honeys, is in development to become a major motion picture.