51 books like The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i

By E. S. Craighill Handy, Mary Kawena Pukui,

Here are 51 books that The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i fans have personally recommended if you like The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Hawaiian Antiquities

Dennis Kawaharada Author Of Storied Landscapes: Hawaiian Literature and Place

From my list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting.

Who am I?

I taught traditional Hawaiian literature to college students and established Kalamakū Press in 1990 to publish Hawaiian folktales, narratives, autobiography, and poetry. I also worked for a decade as a writer for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), a scientific and cultural non-profit that builds and sails double-hulled voyaging canoes to explore how the Polynesians, without modern navigation instruments, found and settled Hawai‘i. Long before Europeans arrived in Hawai‘i, Polynesians discovered and lived sustainably for centuries on an isolated chain of eight islands. The practices and values of the traditional culture have a lot to teach communities struggling to find their way in an overdeveloped, overpopulated world today. 

Dennis' book list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting

Dennis Kawaharada Why did Dennis love this book?

Hawaiian Antiquities, published in 1903, was translated into English from the nineteenth-century writings of David Malo (1795–1853). Malo was a major scholar of Old Hawai‘i who spent his life among the courts of the kings and chiefs, where he learned traditional practices and oral traditions. His writings cover a wide range of topics, including cosmogony, origins and genealogy, social classes, geography (land, sea, and sky and clouds, winds, and rains), the calendar (seasons, months, and days), flora and fauna, fishing and farming, houses and canoes, food and clothing, sports and games, religious worship and observances, healing practices and necromancy, and traditions about the ancient kings of Hawai‘i.

By David Malo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawaiian Antiquities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1951 2nd. ed.


Book cover of Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi

Dennis Kawaharada Author Of Storied Landscapes: Hawaiian Literature and Place

From my list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting.

Who am I?

I taught traditional Hawaiian literature to college students and established Kalamakū Press in 1990 to publish Hawaiian folktales, narratives, autobiography, and poetry. I also worked for a decade as a writer for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), a scientific and cultural non-profit that builds and sails double-hulled voyaging canoes to explore how the Polynesians, without modern navigation instruments, found and settled Hawai‘i. Long before Europeans arrived in Hawai‘i, Polynesians discovered and lived sustainably for centuries on an isolated chain of eight islands. The practices and values of the traditional culture have a lot to teach communities struggling to find their way in an overdeveloped, overpopulated world today. 

Dennis' book list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting

Dennis Kawaharada Why did Dennis love this book?

Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau (1815–1876) was one of the most important and prolific Hawaiian scholars of the nineteenth century. His history of the ruling chiefs of Hawai‘i begins with the high chief ʻUmi, eight generations before Kamehameha I, who established the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1795, and continues to the death of Kamehameha III in 1854. Ruling Chiefs, published in 1961, was translated from Hawaiian newspaper articles that appeared in the 1860s and 1870s. The stories include Captain James Cook’s arrival in 1776, the coming of Western missionaries, and the changes that followed. All of the writings of Kamakau are highly recommended, including The People of Old, The Works of the People of Old, and The Tales and Traditions of the People of Old.

By Samuel M. Kamakau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eighteenth-century Hawaiian historian Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau traces Hawaiʻi’s history from ʻUmi, high chief eight generations before Kamehameha I, to the death of Kamehameha III in 1854. This volume covers the arrival of Captain James Cook, the consolidation of the Hawaiian kingdom by Kamehameha I, the coming of the missionaries, and the changes affecting the kingdom through the reign of Kamehameha III.

This history was originally written by Kamakau in Hawaiian as a series of newspaper articles in the 1860s and 1870s. The English translation was completed by a team of esteemed Hawaiian scholars including Mary Kawena Pukui, Thomas G. Thrum,…


Book cover of Hawaiian Fishing Traditions

Dennis Kawaharada Author Of Storied Landscapes: Hawaiian Literature and Place

From my list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting.

Who am I?

I taught traditional Hawaiian literature to college students and established Kalamakū Press in 1990 to publish Hawaiian folktales, narratives, autobiography, and poetry. I also worked for a decade as a writer for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), a scientific and cultural non-profit that builds and sails double-hulled voyaging canoes to explore how the Polynesians, without modern navigation instruments, found and settled Hawai‘i. Long before Europeans arrived in Hawai‘i, Polynesians discovered and lived sustainably for centuries on an isolated chain of eight islands. The practices and values of the traditional culture have a lot to teach communities struggling to find their way in an overdeveloped, overpopulated world today. 

Dennis' book list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting

Dennis Kawaharada Why did Dennis love this book?

Hawaiian Fishing Traditions celebrates famous Hawaiian fishermen. Fish was the main source of protein. The first story, by Moke Manu, tells of Kū‘ula-kai, who became deified as a god of fishermen because of his power to control fish. He built the first fishpond, in Hāna, Maui, to supply the chief and people with food. His son ‘Ai‘ai, featured in the second story, continued his father’s good work by locating offshore fishing grounds and teaching the people how to catch fish, practice conservation, and distribute the catch with generosity. Also included are the stories of other legendary fishermen and of battles with man-eating sharks. Two articles in the appendix describe the vast array of traditional fishing methods; a third article gives an anthropological account of the worship of shark gods.

By Moke Manu, Dennis Kawaharada (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawaiian Fishing Traditions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A celebration of the great fisherman of ancient Hawaii, known for attracting and propagating fish, inventing fishing techniques, and bringing in extraordinary catches.


Book cover of Hawaiki Rising: Hōkūle‘a, Nainoa Thompson, and the Hawaiian Renaissance

Dennis Kawaharada Author Of Storied Landscapes: Hawaiian Literature and Place

From my list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting.

Who am I?

I taught traditional Hawaiian literature to college students and established Kalamakū Press in 1990 to publish Hawaiian folktales, narratives, autobiography, and poetry. I also worked for a decade as a writer for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), a scientific and cultural non-profit that builds and sails double-hulled voyaging canoes to explore how the Polynesians, without modern navigation instruments, found and settled Hawai‘i. Long before Europeans arrived in Hawai‘i, Polynesians discovered and lived sustainably for centuries on an isolated chain of eight islands. The practices and values of the traditional culture have a lot to teach communities struggling to find their way in an overdeveloped, overpopulated world today. 

Dennis' book list on understanding Hawaiian culture before visiting

Dennis Kawaharada Why did Dennis love this book?

How did Polynesians navigate without instruments in voyaging canoes made with stone-age tools to discover and settle an isolated island chain in the middle of the Pacific, over 2,000 miles from their ancestral homelands in Tahiti and the Marquesas? Their navigational practices are lost in time, but the Polynesian Voyaging Society was established in 1975 to explore how it might have been done. Low tells the story of the society’s early work, a marvelous combination of adventure, exploration, and research that contributed to the contemporary revival of the spirit, pride, values, and traditions of the ancient culture. Also highly recommended on this subject are books by the three founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society: artist and scholar Herb Kawaianui Kane, anthropologist Ben Finney, and writer and waterman Tommy Holmes.

By Sam Low,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawaiki Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Attuned to a world of natural signs-the stars, the winds, the curl of ocean swells-Polynesian explorers navigated for thousands of miles without charts or instruments. They sailed against prevailing winds and currents aboard powerful double canoes to settle the vast Pacific Ocean. And they did this when Greek mariners still hugged the coast of an inland sea, and Europe was populated by stone-age farmers. Yet by the turn of the twentieth century, this story had been lost and Polynesians had become an oppressed minority in their own land. Then, in 1975, a replica of an ancient Hawaiian canoe-Hokule'a-was launched to…


Book cover of From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii

Jasmin Iolani Hakes Author Of Hula

From my list on nonfiction to read before your Hawaii vacation.

Who am I?

My passion to write about Hawaiʻi began with a desire to see the world that I knew and loved reflected in literary form, complete with all its complexities and nuance. Growing up alongside Hawaiʻi’s sovereignty movement, there was so much I didn’t understand. School textbooks didn’t mention Hawaiʻi. The little I learned about our culture and history was from dancing hula. So when I started reading some of the books on this list, it put all of my memories into context. Everything about my home became clearer to see (and therefore write about). The true beauty of Hawaiʻi exists behind its postcard image, and this is how you get there!

Jasmin's book list on nonfiction to read before your Hawaii vacation

Jasmin Iolani Hakes Why did Jasmin love this book?

In the ’70s through the early ’90s, Hawaiʻi went through massive social change.

There was a growing consciousness of the manipulation and exploitation that had accompanied Hawaiʻi’s colonization. With that came a collective desire to right the wrongs of history.

Trask describes the institutional racism, discrimination, and closed doors she faced as she attempted to forge a path for Native Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaiʻi while participating in a growing movement against continued occupation. 

While working on my book, some suggested I soften the political thread woven within the story. It was Trask’s essay “Lovely Hula Hands” (a chapter of From a Native Daughter) that encouraged me to stay true to the portrayal of Hawaiʻi that countered the unflawed, pristine playground image sold to tourists.

Written at a time when Hawai’i’s history was still being glossed over, Trask’s interviews and essays provide an unapologetic perspective and…

By Haunani-Kay Trask,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked From a Native Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This revised text includes material that builds on issues and concerns raised in the first edition. It explores issues of native Hawaiian student organizing at the University of Hawaii, the master plan of the native Hawaiian self-governing organization Ka Lahuni Hawaii and its platform on the four political arenas of sovereignty, the 1989 Hawaii declaration of the Hawaii ecumenical coalition on tourism, and a typology on racism and imperialism. Brief introductions to each of the essays bring them up to date and situate them in the native Hawaiian rights discussion.


Book cover of Lava

Tara Lynn Masih Author Of How We Disappear: Novella & Stories

From my list on how we disappear.

Who am I?

When I began compiling stories for my collection, I noted the theme of disappearance throughout. I’m not sure why that’s the case. Perhaps because I’ve dealt with disappearance on a personal level. Perhaps almost all stories deal with the theme. I have also always been fascinated by people who disappear (such as Agatha Christie), especially into the wild. As a former book editor, my reading standards are very high. The books I’ve recommended are superb and still resonate with me years after I’ve read them. I hope you explore this list and that the characters in these unique and well-crafted stories linger on, even after you’ve finished the last page.

Tara's book list on how we disappear

Tara Lynn Masih Why did Tara love this book?

One of my working titles for my book was A Country All Its Own, a phrase pulled from this exquisite novel set in Hilo, Hawaii. Ball plays with the theme of disappearance throughout, and it’s basically the female version of Australia Stories. Kinau, the narrator, is also shaped by her mother’s stories and haunted by the disappearance of her father, and the death of her ex-husband's stepson, who comes to the island in search of his own destiny. Original and breathtaking in its craft and message, Ball is an accomplished storyteller.

By Pamela Ball,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lava as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A haunting tale of obsessive love, and how an otherwise strong young woman releases herself from it. What if you lived in a world where you could wake the dead, where men had a shark jaw buried in their backs just as the shark god did when he stepped on the shore and became human? A place where scalding lava ran through the streets of the town and down into the hissing sea. Where women picked up guns and never put them down again, where it rained three days out of three, and ghosts drank from the rain gutters and…


Book cover of Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen

Jasmin Iolani Hakes Author Of Hula

From my list on nonfiction to read before your Hawaii vacation.

Who am I?

My passion to write about Hawaiʻi began with a desire to see the world that I knew and loved reflected in literary form, complete with all its complexities and nuance. Growing up alongside Hawaiʻi’s sovereignty movement, there was so much I didn’t understand. School textbooks didn’t mention Hawaiʻi. The little I learned about our culture and history was from dancing hula. So when I started reading some of the books on this list, it put all of my memories into context. Everything about my home became clearer to see (and therefore write about). The true beauty of Hawaiʻi exists behind its postcard image, and this is how you get there!

Jasmin's book list on nonfiction to read before your Hawaii vacation

Jasmin Iolani Hakes Why did Jasmin love this book?

When I was growing up, all I learned about my home was the year Hawaiʻi became a state.

My mother forbid me from speaking local pidgin at home because of the prevailing stereotype that locals were uneducated, unrefined, and not able to understand the complexities of the wider world.

Television and film portrayed people from Hawaiʻi as pagans needing saving from themselves, who drank and sinned themselves to death unless saved by white foreigners. In more ways than one, the loss of the Hawaiian Kingdom was placed on the shoulders of leaders too weak and simple-minded to maintain and protect it.

Hawai’i’s Story challenges that. Written by Queen Liliʻiuokalani after she was imprisoned and overthrown by a group backed by U.S. Marines and intended to aid in the fight against annexation, this memoir reveals a Hawaiian Kingdom that is the most literate nation in the world at the time and…

By Liliuokalani,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen (1898) is an autobiography by Lili'uokalani. Published in 1898, the book was written in the aftermath of Lili'uokalani's attempt to appeal on behalf of her people to President Grover Cleveland, a personal friend. Although it inspired Cleveland to demand her reinstatement, the United States Congress published the Morgan Report in 1894, which denied U.S. involvement in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen appeared four years later as a final effort by Lili'uokalani to advocate on behalf of Hawaiian sovereignty, but it unfortunately came too late. That same year, President…


Book cover of The Best of Bamboo Ridge

Dennis Kawaharada Author Of Local Geography: Essays on Multicultural Hawai'i

From my list on understanding contemporary multicultural Hawai‘i.

Who am I?

I lived most of my life in Hawai‘i’s multiethnic community—an amazing place, where, for the most part, people of diverse ancestries got along. The foundation of tolerance was the culture of Native Hawaiians, who lived isolated from outsiders for centuries before the nineteenth century and thus had few prejudicial ideas about others. The natives generally welcomed them and adopted their beliefs. While confrontations and violence occurred, they were limited, not long-term or widespread. Of course, outsiders brought their racial and cultural prejudices, but, today, with a high rate of intermarriages among all the ethnic groups, Hawai'i is one of the most integrated societies in the world.

Dennis' book list on understanding contemporary multicultural Hawai‘i

Dennis Kawaharada Why did Dennis love this book?

Bamboo Ridge Press was established in 1978 to publish the multiethnic literature of Hawai’i. In this selection the best of its first eight years, the writers, of various ancestries, celebrate their families, cultures, and traditions, but also the cultures and traditions of others—a Hawaiian poet writes about a Tang fisherman; a poet of Chinese-Japanese ancestry and a writer of Puerto Rican ancestry reflect on Hawaiian activism; a white poet features bodhisattvas and Kuan Yin while another dedicates her song to a Hawaiian musician. Native Hawaiian writers are underrepresented in this collection published during a renaissance of Hawaiian culture, but a year earlier, in 1985, Bamboo Ridge also published Mālama: Hawaiian Land and Sea, an anthology of Native Hawaiian writers.

By Eric Chock (editor), Darrell H. Y. Lum (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best of Bamboo Ridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Poetry. Fiction. This anthology of fiction and poetry is a good introductory survey of Hawai'i literature. Selected from issues of the first eight years of BAMBOO RIDGE, The Hawaii Writers' Quarterly, it features the work of more than 50 writers and includes an introduction by the editors as well as an essay on Asian american literature in Hawai'i by Stephen Sumida.


Book cover of Said the Lady with the Blue Hair: 7 Rules for Success in Direct Sales Wrapped in a Wonderful Lesson for Life

Grant Muller Author Of Top of Heart: How a new approach to business saved my life, and could save yours too

From my list on business that won’t bore you to death.

Who am I?

I’ve been in love with business books since I was a child and I’m also a big fan of great story telling. I didn’t realize until recently that you can have both in one book! Discovering this genre of business books that inspire and delight while passing along new and useful insights was a wonderful surprise for me that I like to share with others. These gripping stories have opened up a whole new world for me and allowed me to learn and apply their lessons much more quickly. It’s simply more fun and easier to remember new wisdom when it’s carried forward in gripping stories.   

Grant's book list on business that won’t bore you to death

Grant Muller Why did Grant love this book?

We meet the protagonist Kai and her daughter Michaela as they navigate some of life’s most difficult moments. They are grieving and lost as Kai struggles to navigate her new life and the dauting prospecting of supporting Michaela all on her own.

Luckily they meet Belle, a wildly successful businesswoman who takes them under her wing as she mentors Kai. Throughout the story, Belle teaches 7 rules that will ensure success for any of us in life and in business.

The book is so compelling that you won’t realize you are learning business principles until you reach the ending with satisfaction and realize that you are smarter and better prepared for having read it. This is another book I simply couldn’t put down!

By Lisa M. Wilber, Jeff C. West,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Said the Lady with the Blue Hair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kai Frazier is a mother raising her ten year-old daughter, Michaela... alone. Happily married for over ten years, never dreaming she would have to build a new life for the two of them – she now faces difficult and unwanted decisions.

On a beach in Hawaii, she encounters Belle, the lady with the blue hair – a most unusual woman. A friendship develops between the two and Kai’s new mentor guides her as she embarks on her journey into the future.

The characters are lovable, realistic and entertaining. The fiction is at times poignant... at times humorous... and always engaging.…


Book cover of 'Ewa Which Way

Lehua Parker Author Of One Boy, No Water

From my list on authentically Hawaiian books for tweens and teens.

Who am I?

Growing up in a kanaka maoli—Native Hawaiian—family in Hawai’i, I hungered for stories centered around island kids and their authentic lived experiences. I scoured classrooms, libraries, and bookstores looking for stories that reflected my reality, but all I ever found were dusty collections of ancient legends, not books that appealed to my sense of wonder or adventure. It’s the reason I wrote the Niuhi Shark Saga trilogy and why I’m so excited to share this collection with you. These books are everything I always wanted to read as a child growing up in Hawai‘i—and more!

Lehua's book list on authentically Hawaiian books for tweens and teens

Lehua Parker Why did Lehua love this book?

This coming-of-age story is powerful, immediate, and like a bloody scraped knee, painfully evocative of the transition between childhood and adulthood. I loved this book for its ability to show all the complicated rules, expectations, and entanglements of being a kid trying to make sense out of adult behavior. Set in ‘Ewa Beach, Hawai‘i, in 1982, Landon and Luke face prejudices of class and race, their parents’ alcohol abuse and valium popping coping mechanisms, and sheer dysfunction. Landon shares his reality with heartbreaking twelve-year-old clarity.   

By Tyler Miranda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 'Ewa Which Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fiction. EWA WHICH WAY is a coming-of-age novel set in the early 1980s, around the time of Hurricane ‘Iwa. The DeSilva family, in economic straits, has suffered the setback of having to move from town to Ewa Beach, and the dissonance between parents impacts the lives of their young sons, Landon and Luke. In addition to humorous moments of growing up local, Portuguese, and Catholic, there are serious underlying themes regarding religion, ethnic tensions, assimilation issues, domestic violence, and the reality that children sometimes need to find their own way in the world at a very young age. With problems…


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