My husband and I were fortunate to go to Maui for our honeymoon, and I was so happy to read Maui native Ilima Loomis‘s picture book ‘Ohana Means Family (out in February 2020 from Neal Porter Books) today. It brought back such a beautiful time in my life. Illustrated with watercolor, gouache, and digital art by Kenard Pak, this book tells the story of preparing poi for a lu’au.
A beautiful story that engages readers in the process from mud to kalo to poi to the family lu’au, ‘Ohana Means Family conveys both a universal theme of valuing a shared meal with family and a very particular Hawaiian tradition.
I love the authentic way in which this book captures the land and people of Hawai’i with its poetic, repetitive verses that give the text an oral storytelling quality and its stunning illustrations that show the land and weather and people, but, most of all, the heart of Hawai’i.
‘Ohana Means Family is also an homage to the land of Hawai’i. When we were visiting, we had the fortunate opportunity to meet with a lavender farm owner who was so appreciative of the land of Hawaii. We were also told from locals about the tensions between the preservation of the land and the tourist economy / growing non-native population. This book can definitely be used in units on sustainability – of land and family traditions.
A beautiful book about Hawai’i and family, ‘Ohana Means Family earns five stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️