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Rejuvenating Hawaiian Reading

Book signing

Left to right: Kamalu Poepoe, Editor; Opu’ulani Albino, Author; Jeaninne Rossa, Project Manager; Koki Foster, Ka Moe’Uhane Artist; Brandon Hirashima, Ka Wena Artist. Photo courtesy Kualapuu School

Two new Hawaiian language books written by Molokai’s Kumu `Opu`ulani Albino were celebrated at a book signing last Wednesday at the Molokai Public Library. The books fill what Hawaiian immersion teachers at Kualapu`u School identified as a gap in reading material for their students, and are quickly gaining popularity with teachers of `Olelo Hawaii around the state.

“This little school in the middle of the boonies is beginning to put something out there that there’s a need for,” said Kamalu Poepoe, who edited the books.

“Ka Wena”, illustrated by Molokai artist Brandon Hirashima, is filled with little vignettes of Hawaiian culture in the present-day, as seen through the eyes of a lively group of keiki characters. “Ka Moe`uhane”, illustrated by Molokai artist Jennette “Koki” Foster, is an exciting third grade-level mystery novel filled with Hawaiian practices and perspectives that have endured up to our present day.

“[Students are] very proud and excited that they’re getting to walk around with what looks like a typical chapter book similar to the English equivalents,” said Poepoe.

The books, sponsored by a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority in partnership with Kualapu`u School, are available for sale on Amazon.com as well as the Kualapu`u School office.

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