Give the Gift of Books This Holiday Season

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As you shop for gifts this holiday season, consider going “low-tech.” Instead of new tablets, phones and the latest and greatest “must-have” high-tech gadgets and gizmos, gift your loved ones with books by, and for, our lāhui.

Native Hawaiians have a tradition of literacy and learning. In the 1800s, Hawaiʻi had the highest literacy rate in the world. In 1834, less than a decade after books and newspapers in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi began being printed, an astounding 95% of Native Hawaiians were literate. In comparison, the worldwide literacy rate in the 1830s was only about 15%.

So this holiday season, escape the overstimulation of modern life and settle down on the sofa for some quiet time with a book about Hawaiʻi by a Native Hawaiian writer. It’s an investment in our minds and imaginations – and an investment in our native economy.

Here are a few ideas to get you started – but there is much more to choose from!

Every Drop is a Man’s Nightmare
By Megan Kamalei Kakimoto

A collection of stories featuring mixed Native Hawaiian and Japanese women through a contemporary landscape of inherited wisdom and the ghosts of colonization; a love letter to Hawaiian identity and a warning from an occupied territory threatening to erupt.


Everything Ancient Was Once New
By Emalani Case

An exploration of Indigenous persistence through the concept of Kahiki, a term that is both the ancestral homeland for Kānaka Maoli and the knowledge that there is life beyond our shores.


From a Native Daughter
By Haunani-Kay Trask

Revised edition of the book originally published in 1993. A provocative, well-reasoned attack against the rampant abuse of Native Hawaiian rights, institutional racism and gender discrimination. Includes new material that builds on issues raised in the first edition.


Kaluaikoolau
By Piilani

Book 5 of the Hawaiian language reprint series, Ke Kupu Hou. The personal narrative of Piilani, devoted wife of Kaluaikoolau and mother to Kaleimanu. The family hid in the mountain forests of Kauaʻi to escape banishment to Kalaupapa that would separate their ʻohana.


Ka Poʻe Moʻo Akua: Hawaiian Reptilian Water Deities
By Marie Alohalani Brown

An exploration of the fearsome and fascinating creatures known as moʻo that live in or near fresh water, are predominantly female, and often masquerade as stunningly beautiful humans.


Lei Nāhonoapliʻilani: Songs of West Maui
Edited by Nicholas Kealiʻi Lum and Zachary Alakaʻi Lum

Includes lyrics, translations and musical notations of more than 80 of the most beloved songs about this wahi pana.


Makahiki: A Murder Mystery During the Annual Tribute to the God Lono in Ancient Hawaiʻi
By Malcolm Nāea Chun

A murder mystery set in ancient Hawaiʻi during the annual tribute to the god, Lono. A high priest is found dead before the rituals can begin.


Nānā i ke Kumu: Helu ʻEkolu
By Lynette K. Paglinawan, Richard Paglinawan, Dennis Kauahi and Valli Kalei Kanuha

This third volume of Nānā i ke Kumu, illustrated by ʻĪmaikalani Kalāhele, presents traditions associated with grieving and healing practices for modern-day family conflicts.


Nā Wahi Kapu o Maui
By Kapulani Landgraf

Documents geographical, cultural and archaeological features within the 12 traditional land divisions of Maui with photographic images and poetic text offering insightful commentary on the land and its people.


No Mākou ka Mana: Liberating the Nation
By Kamanamaikalani Beamer

An assertion that the founders of the Hawaiian Kingdom exercised their own agency, selectively appropriating ideas from the West – a new point of reference for understanding their motives and methods.


ʻOhuʻohu nā Mauna o ʻEʻeka: Place Names of Maui Komohana
By Cody Pueo Pata

Details more than 1,600 place names from Maui Komohana (West Maui) compiled from maps, 19th and 20th century newspapers, online databases, archival records, moʻolelo, mele and recordings of native speakers.


Remembering Our Intimacies Moʻolelo, Aloha ʻĀina, and Ea
By Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio

Centering on the personal and embodied articulations of aloha ʻāina, Osorio detangles the concept from the effects of colonialism and occupation.


Ua Mau Ke Ea: Sovereignty Endures
By David Keanu Sai

An overview of the political and legal history of the Hawaiian Islands, chronicled through storytelling, interviews, archival images and Hawaiian language newspaper articles.


Ulu
By Kai Gaspar

A lyrical and poetic memoir that captures the world of Hōnaunau, Hawaiʻi Island in the 70s and 80s and the humanity of its unforgettable villagers. Gaspar weaves together themes of “broken family, queer exploration and aching love of land and culture.”

These titles and more are available online at Native Books or visit their storefront at 1164 Nuʻuanu Avenue in Honolulu.