Attendees shop and browse for new and old books. - Photo: Courtesy Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival

An annual celebration of Hawai‘i songs and stories heads back to the Honolulu civic grounds the first weekend in May with a full slate of entertainment featuring local literature, Hawaiian music, hula hālau and more.

The Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival is a time to hear from local and visiting authors, catch performances by award-winning musicians and dancers, learn about health, wellness and aging, and pick up cooking techniques – as well as samples and the cookbooks themselves. There’s lots of programming for keiki, too: storytellers, discussions on young adult fiction, mini performances of “James and the Giant Peach” and a “Moana” medley, as well as kiddie games and activities.

Once again, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is sponsoring the Alana culture program, with two days of presentations and readings – including on a panel discussion Mana Lāhui Kānaka, a book OHA published last year about mana and how it can be used to uplift Hawaiian communities. The Alana pavilion will also feature readings and discussions on recently released writings: Dana Naone Hall’s Life of the Land: Articulations of a Native Writer; Ian MacMillan’s In the Time Before Light and Malia Mattoch McManus’s Dragonfruit.

The annual festival is also a chance to hear from scholars who shed their academic language to share about interesting things they’ve uncovered in their research. A panel on Lord of the Haao Rain by Irving Jenkin’s examines the contents of the Forbes caves and the story of “sacred twins of Kalani‘ōpu‘u,” Keouakuahuula and Keaouapeeale. Another session focuses on Noenoe K. Silva’s The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen, which reconstructures indigenous intellectual history.

2018 celebrates several significant anniversaries within the ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i movement and Hawaiian education. “The Immersion Schools After 30 Years – The Experience,” and “Creating & Publishing a Culture-based Science Program” reflect this, as does Puakea Nogelmeier’s “The Ali‘i Letters.”

The Alana program is one of many themed pavilions at the festival – and it isn’t the only place to find Hawaiian cultural programming. There will be hula on the mainstage: Hālau Hula Ka No‘eau led by Kumu Hula Michael Pili Pang; Hālau Mohala Ilima, led by Kumu Hula Māpuana DeSilva; Hālau Keali‘ika‘apunihonua Ke‘ena A‘o Hula led by Kumu Hula Leimomi Ho and more. Musicians will take the stage, too, including Kupaoa and Jeff Peterson, and Jake Shimabukuro closing out the weekend.

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2018 Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival
May 5-6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds / Honolulu Hale