When I was a child, a relative in Hawaii from my mother’s side that I’d never met sent me two picture books as a Christmas present. It was a little weird because they didn’t send a gift for either of two siblings, nor did they indicate that this was a shared gift.
Pua Pua Lena Lena and the Magic Kiha-Pu by
One book was a Hawaiian folk tale of Pua Pua Lena Lena, a kind of magical dog who has to retrieve the kiha pu, a conch shell that sounds an alarm if an enemy is approaching the kingdom, from spirits who have stolen it. This is his punishment for accidentally stealing plants from the Royal Garden in order to make awa tea for his master.
I also received a beautiful version of Momotaro, the peach boy warrior, a Japanese folk tale.
Both books were treasured favorites of mine, and I still have both copies. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to visit Hawaii a few times. My husband played golf for the University of Hawaii which is another connection that brings us back there.
I’m working on a series of Folk Tale posts from Asia and the Pacific Islands. Korea was my first. Today’s post celebrates Folk Tales from Hawaii. Because I had trouble finding these stories, I’ve also included Hawaiian notable picture book biographies.
p.s. I also have a post on Pearl Harbor Books for Kids.
p.p.s. More Asian folk tales: