Archive for the ‘Books’ category

Three summer reading programs in 2019

June 4, 2019

“Did you know the summer reading program started?” I asked my 12-year old son. “We could win a trip somewhere.”

“I don’t want to go anywhere,” he said disinterestedly.

I tried a “big challenge” approach. “They want to reach 13 million minutes this summer.”

There was a small spark in his eyes, but he wasn’t ready to commit yet. “What other prizes are there?”

“Does it matter?” I asked. “Just tell me your title, author, and number of minutes.”

“Okay,” he said.

Whether you’re interested in winning prizes, winning books, or just challenging yourself to read, there are three free summer reading programs to choose from.

A Universe of Stories: Hawaii Public Libraries

Children, teens, and adults can explore a Universe of Stories. That’s the theme of the 2019 free Summer Reading Program at the Hawaii Public Libraries, which runs June 1 through July 13, 2019. There will be six weeks of free space-themed movies, entertainment, and activities for all ages. Register today at to track your minutes for you and your family. The more minutes you read, the more you’ll help us reach our goal of reading 13 million minutes in Hawaii – and the more chances you’ll earn to earn entries into a grand prize drawing: a trip for four anywhere Alaska Airlines flies, courtesy of Alaska Airlines.

Summer Reading Adventure: Barnes & Noble

For grades 1-6, Barnes & Noble’s free Summer Reading Program gives young readers the opportunity to earn a free book! Just read eight books this summer, record them in the Summer Reading Journal, and write down which part of the book is your favorite and why. Then turn in your completed journal to Barnes and Noble at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. You could pick a book about the Mount Rushmore Calamity, My FANGtastically Evil Vampire Pet, or the Race to Space: Countdown to Liftoff.

Summer Reading Challenge: Scholastic Read-a-Palooza

If you think 13 million minutes isn’t challenging enough, kids can participate in the free Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge. Between May 6 and September 6, 2019 kids can enter log their reading minutes, unlock digital rewards, and access exclusive videos and book excerpts. Plus, when participating kids collectively read 25 million, 50 million, and 100 million minutes, Scholastic will donate books to kids in need in the United States. On May 29, kids already reached the first milestone of 25 million minutes and unlocked the first book donation!


What books are you looking forward to reading this summer? How many minutes will you read?

Have a wonderful summer filled with books!


Three ways to celebrate books, music, Star Wars, and comics

April 30, 2019

This Saturday, May 4, fans of books, music, Star Wars, and comic books can indulge in a trio of celebrations.

May 4th (and 5th) is the Hawaii Book and Music Festival. This free celebration of books and music is fun for people of all ages, backgrounds and tastes. In addition to author talks, book swaps, keiki entertainment, storytimes, and musical performances, there are presentations and panel discussions about Hawaiian culture, Humanities/Breaking News, and Wellness.

May 4th is also Star Wars Day, “May the Fourth Be With You”. “May the 4th be with you.” What started as pun shared by fans has become a full-fledged Star Wars holiday: Star Wars Day, a special once-a-year celebration of the galaxy far, far away. Have a fan-tastic day by dressing up as your favorite Star Wars character, indulging in “Yoda Soda” with “Wookie Cookies,” and watching your favorite episode or reading your favorite Star Wars book.

And May 4th is Free Comic Book Day, the biggest celebration of comic books and a great time to discover new types of comics! It’s the perfect time to read new comics, get kids involved in reading, and have fun as a community. This year, there are 51 comics to choose from, including titles from Minecraft & Disney’s The Incredibles, Little Lulu, Bob’s Burgers, The Amazing Spider-Man, My Hero Academia, Star Wars Adventures, and more. Tag your photos #FCBD19 to help get Free Comic Book Day trending.

Here’s a list of participating public libraries:

  • Oahu – Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kailua, Kalihi-Palama, Kapolei, Manoa, McCully-Moiliili, Mililani, Nanakuli, Salt Lake-Moanalua, Wahiawa, Waikiki-Kapahulu, Waimanalo, and Waipahu. At select Oahu libraries, costumed characters from the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Imperial Legion, Rebel Legion Hawaii, and Costumers Guild of Hawaii will be appearing. Check your local library for appearance times.
  • Hawaii Island – Hilo, Kailua-Kona, and Thelma Parker. At the Hilo Public Library, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, kids can make their own comic book and playing card.
  • Kauai – Hanapepe and Princeville.
  • Lanai – Visit the Lanai Public & School Library’s booth at the Saturday Market (front of Cafe 565) from 8-11 a.m.
  • Maui – KahuluiKiheiLahaina, and Makawao. At the Kihei Public Library, 10 am to 12:30 pm, meet comic book artist and author of Draw-a-Saurus James Silvani.

I plan to pick up a free comic book and volunteer at the Book and Music Festival (first time!), so maybe I’ll see you this weekend. Which celebrations will you choose?

Libraries=Strong Communities

April 9, 2019

What do I love about my local library? I’ve been able to read so many books that I wouldn’t have been able to read without the library. My son was entertained by storytime, puzzletime, puppet shows, plays, movies, and author talks. And let’s not forget summer reading programs, Free Comic Book Day, and Star Wars Reads Day!

This week is National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. It’s a chance for us to show our appreciation for our public libraries, who educate and entertain us.

This year’s theme, Libraries = Strong Communities, illustrates how today’s libraries are at the heart of our cities, towns, schools and campuses. They are a public space where all community members, regardless of age, culture or income level, can come together to connect and learn.

You can get involved by posting photos, videos, or stories on social media highlighting what you love about your library. Use the hashtag #MyLibraryMyStory on Twitter or Instagram or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card (contest ends Saturday, April 13 at noon CT).

Here are a few of ways Hawaii public libraries are celebrating National Library Week:

On April 9, 2019 at 1 pm, the Aina Haina Public Library will reopen after completing extensive repairs and renovations caused by flooding a year ago. At 3 pm, there will be cake, refreshments, and goodie bags for keiki provided by Friends of the Aina Haina Public Library. At 6 pm, there will be congratulatory remarks by State Librarian Stacey Aldrich, elected officials and musical performances by special guests. As part of this reopening celebration, the Aina Haina Public Library is launching a new lending collection of ‘ukulele, in partnership with the Music For Life Foundation and Jake Shimabukuro, co-director of the ‘ukulele sponsorship.

On April 9, 2019 at 2:30 pm, the Kalihi-Palama Public Library will sponsor a make-and-take color your own bookmark activity for young adults. All week long, there is a “Name that Book” contest for young adults (ends April 13).

On April 11, 2019 at 6 pm, the  Nānākuli Public Library is celebrating their first birthday. There will be cake and refreshments, a special performance by the Hawaii Opera Theatre, and congratulatory remarks by State Librarian Stacey Aldrich, architect Glen Miura, and Kapi‘olani Baber, Executive Director of the Nānākuli Housing Corporation.

On April 12, 2019 at 3 pm, the Ewa Beach Public Library is concluding National Library Week with a free program on Iris Folding. a paper craft technique that involves laying folded strips of colored paper to form a design, of which the center forms an iris reminiscent of a camera lens. Even though it looks complex, creating these works of art is simple. You can find out how yourself at this program. The library will provide the supplies.

On April 13, 2019 at 9:30 am to 4 pm, the Makawao Public Library on Maui is hosting their 50th Anniversary Celebration. There will be poetry by Betsy Knight and Wade Garcia, a concert by the Kalama Intermediate School ‘Ukulele Band, face painting, a keiki book giveaway, nostalgic Hawaiian music with The Hawaiian Serenaders, and more.

What do you enjoy most about your local library?

Best books of 2018

December 18, 2018

This year has been filled with changes and opportunities that challenged me to move out of my comfort zone. I was drawn to books about coping with adversity, leadership, and finding meaning at work.

Here are 10 of the best books that I’ve read in 2018:

* “The Tower of Dawn” by Sarah J. Maas – about confronting your fears and prejudice, learning that ‘love cannot exist without trust,’ being seen as you really are, self-forgiveness, and the power of kindness.

* “Lake Silence” by Anne Bishop – about rebuilding self-esteem, being friendly but not a friend, finding where you belong, and being a bridge between worlds.

* “Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers” by Sara Ackerman – about the effects of war, the anxiety of keeping secrets, taking a stand against racial prejudice, and allowing yourself to feel alive.

* “The Forbidden Door” by Dean Koontz – about facing the truth vs. living in denial, recognizing that evil is real, loyalty, and choosing not to live in fear.

* “All Systems Red” (novella) by Martha Wells – about what it means to be human, self-identity, free will, and making your own decisions – basically, saving people so you can go back to watching entertainment videos.

* “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” (2009) by Simon Sinek – because people are drawn to why you it, not what you do.

* “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” (2018) by Daniel H. Pink – about hacking your time to boost your performance and energize yourself.

* “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High,” Second Edition (2012) by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzlerl – teaching us how to confidently tackling conversations that have opposing opinions, high stakes, and strong emotions

* “Do It Anyway: The Handbook for Finding Personal Meaning and Deep Happiness in a Crazy World” (2003) by Kent M. Keith – about accepting that life is unfair and living as if you can make it fair.

* “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups” (2018) by Daniel Coyle – about building safety, sharing vulnerability, and establishing purpose.

Which books have entertained you, challenged you, or inspired you? Which books would you recommend ?

Happy reading and happy new year!

Summer reading programs that rock!

May 29, 2018

Reading rocks! If you think reading is boring, you’re probably reading the wrong books. There are books, comic books, graphic novels, ebooks, illustrated guides, and even cookbooks for everyone.

Don’t let the summer by pass by without joining a summer reading program and immersing yourself in new worlds, new ideas, and new adventures – while getting rewarded for reading.

Join a summer reading program in Hawaii:

* Libraries Rock! Hawaii Public Libraries Summer Reading Program, June 2 to July 14, 2018. Children, teens, and adults can join a free reading program, earn rewards, and attend fun programs throughout the summer. Register online and keep an online reading log at This year, there’s a chance to win a Flyaway Trip for Four from Alaska Airlines.

Stop by the Hawaii State Library on Saturday, June 2 and join the Summer Reading Kick-Off, featuring books, fun activities, refreshments, and music by The Tongan Sisters!

If you want to share your opinions and ideas with other readers, join a book club at your local library. Hawaii public libraries in Aiea, Hawaii State (main branch), Kailua, Kaimuki, Kapolei, Makawao, North Kohala, and Waianae meet monthly – check their website for a complete list of book clubs and eBook clubs.

* The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program, May 15 to September 3, 2018. Elementary students in grades 1-6 can read 8 books, record them in the Reading Journal, and turn it in at Barnes and Noble for a free book from the book list – to keep, share with a friend, or donate to their classroom library. Download a free printable Reading Journal to help kids keep track of the books they read and their favorite parts. There are stores in Honolulu, Oahu and Lahaina, Maui.

What books will you read this summer? Which books are on your “want to read” list?

Read more, go screen-free, and a book and music festival

May 1, 2018

When my son was young, I read to him every day, took him to storytime at libraries and bookstores, and signed him up for summer reading programs. In elementary school, he loved reading the “My Weird School” books. I thought he was well on his way to being a reader.

And then in middle school, things changed. A tablet, a smartphone, and YouTube began to overtake his reading time. One day I realized he hadn’t read a book in a few weeks. I casually suggested that he find a book to read, but inside I was at DEFCON 3.

This week, April 30-May 6, 2018, Children’s Book Week, the annual celebration of books and reading, is partnering with Screen Free Week, when children, families, schools, and communities rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen.

The theme of Children’s Book Week is “One World, Many Stories,” there’s a free downloadable Resources Kit with posters, bookmarks, activities, and more, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.

Books become even more important when you realize that, including multitasking, children ages 8-18 spend an average of 4.5 hours per day watching TV, 1.5 hours using computers, and more than 1 hour playing video games, according to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study. These hours spent with screens can have a negative impact on learning.

Screen Free Week, sponsored by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, put together a persuasive and helpful Organizer’s Kit. I highly recommend the media literacy activities. One lesson is about needs vs. wants, in which kids count how many of the ads they see that are trying to get you to buy things that you really need. Another lesson is about being a product placement detective, challenging kids to spot the ads hidden inside television shows and electronic games. There’s also a pledge card, a certificate of achievement, and a list of 101 screen-free activities.

Crowning the week is the Hawaii Book and Music Festival, May 5-6, 2018, on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds and Honolulu Hale. It’s a gathering that honors books, music, and story-telling, and promotes literacy and life-long learning. Beyond books, and music, there’s also a “Wellness in Hawaii” track with panel discussions about issues that affect our physical and mental health in the islands.

What was the last children’s book you read? Will you go screen-free this week?

Best books of 2017

December 19, 2017


I made it a priority to read more books. Reading is a priority because I’m busy, not despite being busy. It’s a small but important difference.

Most of the books I’ve been drawn to this year have strong female characters – they make mistakes, they doubt themselves, and they forge ahead to save themselves – and everyone around them. And I’ve been reading more young adult fiction, because I’m curious about the books this generation of teenagers is growing up reading. The outlier is Stan Lee, because his autobiography is just that entertaining.

Here are eight of the best books that I’ve read in 2017.

Best young adult dystopian fantasy with otherworldly magic, hounds, and epic battles:
“Elite” by Mercedes Lackey – about social media, celebrity culture, and fan service; the illusion of safety; taking action despite fear; and believing that you can continue to learn

Best ‘weakest character is sometimes the strongest’ urban fantasy:
“Silence Fallen” by Patricia Briggs – about the bonds between people; personal power vs. the power of relationships; the power of belief; and coping with trauma

Best murder investigation by the last unaugmented human in town dystopian science fiction novel:
“Company Town” by Madeline Ashby – about being seen as you really are, accepting who you are, wanting a better life, justice, friendship, seeing reality vs. filtering reality, and one person changing the future

Best young adult interstellar search for meaning romantic science fiction:
“Defy the Stars” by Claudia Gray – about the line between human and machine, the temptation and terror of free will, the search for meaning in faith, and self-sacrifice for a cause

Best romantic science fiction novel with sentient ships and alien alliances:
“Dark Horse” by Michelle Diener – about trust; keeping your word; surviving by adapting to new situations; taking responsibility to end slavery; and music that brings joy and inspiration

Best off-the-grid FBI agent investigates a conspiracy thriller:
“The Silent Corner” by Dean Koontz – about justice, people mattering more than ideas, recognizing the humanity in others, and the danger of absolute power

Best lessons from military leaders account:
“The Courage to Take Command: Leadership Lessons from a Military Trailblazer” (2015) by Jill Morgenthaler – about overcoming obstacles; standing up for yourself; bringing out the best in your team; and speaking out against injustice

Best real life turned comic book adventure autobiography:
“Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir” (2015) by Stan Lee with Peter David and art by Colleen Doran – with creativity (he has conversations with his younger self), sly humor, humility unwillingness to make personal attacks, and tact

What book themes resonate with you? What have you been reading lately?