Archive for the ‘Books’ category

I’m in love with the library

October 17, 2017

I appreciate everything that the Friends of Hawaii’s Public Libraries does for the community – buying books, supporting children’s events, sponsoring performances. In honor of National Friends of Libraries Week, we’re singing “Library” to the tune of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”

The club isn’t the best place to find a novel
So the library is where I go (mmmm)
Me and my Friends at the shelves choosing books
Reading fast and then we talk slow (mmmm)
And you come over with a book recommendation just for me
And trust I’ll give it a glance now (mmmm)
Hold that book, stop, get that novel from the bookshelf
And then we start to read
And now I’m singing like

[Chorus 1]
Library, I want your books
Your books are written for somebody like me
Come on now, just let me read
I will be reading, don’t mind me
Shh, Friends, let’s not talk too much
Pick up a book and read that book to me
Come on now, just let me read
Come, come on now, just let me read (mmmm)

[Chorus 2]
I’m in love with the library
We browse and borrow books we see
Although I like Amazon too
I’m in love with the library
Last night I was up too late
And now I can’t wait to debate
Every day I’m reading something brand new
I’m in love with the library

Oh I oh I oh I oh I
I’m in love with the library
Oh I oh I oh I oh I
I’m in love with the library
Oh I oh I oh I oh I
I’m in love with the library
Every day I’m reading something brand new
I’m in love with the library

One week in we let the story begin
We’re starting in our first book (mmmm)
You and me are carefree, so read all you can read
Settle your mind and settle in a Nook (mmmm)
We read for hours and hours about the sweet and the sour
Flights of fantasy, conflict and courtship (mmmm)
And pause and pick up a new book, the cover got you hooked
Libraries take you on the best trips
And I’m singing like

[Chorus 1]

[Chorus 2]

Every day I’m reading something brand new
I’m in love with the library


My best friends from high school is a librarian. Who is your favorite librarian? Why do you visit your favorite library?


Surf a book, live a museum

September 19, 2017

This Saturday, September 23, 2017 there two awesome events that you won’t want to miss: the Surf-a-Book Festival and Museum Day Live!

If you read with children or have ever thought about writing a children’s book, you’ll want to catch the Surf-a-Book Festival, a celebration of children’s literature in Hawaii at the Hawaii State Library in Honolulu, 10 am to 1:30 pm. There will be free presentations, children’s activities, read-alouds, book signings, a book exhibit, and panel discussions, with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Beginning authors and illustrators can dive into their own story and meet local authors and illustrators: Joy Au, Chris Caravalho, Kirsten Carlson, Ellie Crowe, David Estes, Leslie Hayashi, Dani Hickman, Lavonne Leong, Christin Lozano, Alina Niemi, Elizabeth Oh, Jessica Orfe, Tammy Yee, and more.

One of the best projects I’ve ever done with my son has been writing a book together. For a second grade recycling project, he created Mr. Roboto out of recycled materials (tissue boxes, plastic bowls, bottle caps) and started writing stories about him. That summer, he wrote and illustrated “The Story of SuperPoliceboto!” The best part of it was opening that bright orange Shutterfly box and seeing his book for the first time.

Another great way to spend your Saturday is by bringing the past to life at Museum Day Live!, an annual celebration of boundless curiosity hosted by Smithsonian magazine. Each Museum Day Live! ticket provides free admission for two people. Just find a participating museum or cultural institution, print your ticket or download it to your smartphone, and head to the museum.

In Hawaii, there are 7 participating museums:

* Honolulu, Oahu: Hawaii State Art Museum, which features contemporary artwork by artists with a connection to Hawaii (the current exhibit is “Hawaii: Change and Continuity”); Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy; Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Historical Gallery, which exhibits Okage Sama De: I Am What I Am Because of You (displaying the Japanese immigration experience from 1868 to modern times) and the Honouliuli National Monument Education Center (highlighting Oahu’s World War II internment camp); and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, which exhibits aircraft and tells the stories of aviation in the Pacific.

* Lahaina, Maui: Baldwin Home, the oldest house still standing on Maui; and Wo Hing Museum, a restored social meeting hall for Chinese laborers who helped build tunnels and irrigation systems through the mountains.

* Lihue, Kauai: Grove Farm Museum, with authentic sugar plantation buildings and homes, orchards and pasture lands, and operating sugar plantation steam locomotives.

The Okage Sama De exhibit at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii is a wonderful experience. Walking through the gallery is like stepping into the past. If you haven’t already visited the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, I encourage you to take your family this weekend!

Share your Museum Day Live experience @MuseumDay  #BoundlessCuriosity  #MuseumDayLive

What are your favorite children’s books? Have you ever thought about writing a children’s book? Where will your curiosity lead you?

Build a better world with 2017 summer reading programs

May 30, 2017

School may be out, but books are always in. Hawaii residents are lucky to participate in two long-time summer reading programs.

For readers of all ages, the Hawaii Public Libraries is sponsoring a summer reading program from June 4 to July 15, 2017 for children, teens, and adults. For the first time readers can register online using Beanstack, where you can earn badges and set reading goals. This year’s theme is “Build a Better World” Each library has different activities and prizes, but you need a valid library card to participate.

During the 2014 summer reading program the most recent library data I could find, 29,847 participants read 358,660 books. Wouldn’t it be amazing if 100,000 readers signed up this year?

In addition to reading books, you can also support your local library by volunteering with the Friends of the Library of Hawaii. Help out during the summer reading program and throughout the year – such as shelving books, selling used books, counting visitors, or donning a costume to delight the kids. Contact your local branch to ask how you can help build a better local library.

Students in grades 1-6 can also join the Barnes and Noble summer reading program, from May 16 to September 5, 2017. Students can read any eight books this summer and record them in the Summer Reading Journal, along with a note about your favorite part, and you can earn a FREE book from the book list on the back of the journal. There are two Barnes and Noble stores in Hawaii, in Honolulu, Oahu and Lahaina, Maui.


Mahalo to Hawaii Public Libraries and Barnes and Noble, for encouraging readers, discovery, and imagination.

What books will you read this summer? What does building a better world mean to you?

Exciting! Electrifying! days for readers

May 2, 2017

Exciting! Electrifying! Calling all Star Wars fans, book and music lovers, and comic book readers! Be prepared for an amazing week.

First, there’s… May the Fourth, aka Star Wars Day, a day to celebrate all things Star Wars. Dress up as your favorite Star Wars character. Stay up for a Star Wars movie marathon. Read your favorite Star Wars book (my 10-year old son’s recommendation: “Lost Stars” by Claudia Gray). Indulge in Vader taters, Wookie cookies, and Yoda soda. Practice your lightsaber moves.

Followed by… Free Comic Book Day. From the nostalgic (Archie and Underdog) to the futuristic (Avatar and Dr. Who), for kids (SpongeBob) and kids of all ages, there’s a comic book for everyone! On Saturday, May 6, stop by a Hawaii public library and get a free comic book. Show your HSPLS library card at a Hawaii public library in Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Hilo, Kahului, Kailua, Kailua-Kona (students, dress for the Cosplay competition!), Kapolei, Kihei, Lahaina, Lanai, Liliha, Makawao, Manoa, McCully-Moiliili, Mililani, Princeville, Salt Lake-Moanalua, Waikiki-Kapahulu, Waimanalo, Wahiawa, Waimea (Thelma Parker Memorial), and Waipahu. Check with specific libraries for special activities.

Wrapping up with… the Hawaii Book and Music Festival, May 6-7 in Honolulu. Immerse yourself in book readings, author signings, panel discussions, storytelling, music, hula, food demonstrations, and more. Trade your gently-used books at the Book Swap. Bring folding chairs or mats to sit on the lawn and soak up the entertainment. Let kids work off their energy in the Keiki Zone. A fun idea would be to have a round-robin storytelling, with a group of people pitching in to create an unexpected, one-of-a-kind story!

What books, comic books, or graphic novels are you reading? Which historical, futuristic, or fictional world do you wish you could live in?

Best books of 2016

December 20, 2016

Best books of 2016

I haven’t read as many books as I wanted to this year, but I want to share some of my favorites with you. Here are six of the best books that I’ve read in 2016. I hope that one of these books will inspire you to read, or intrigue you enough to visit a library or bookstore.

Best young adult time-travel adventure romance:
* “Passenger” by Alexandra Bracken – about finding out who you really are, choosing your future, refusing to conform to society’s expectations, power that corrupts, and opening yourself to possibilities.

Best rip your soul to shreds to save the world new adult fantasy:
* “Empire of Storms” by Sarah J. Maas – about power and responsibility, loyalty- self-sacrifice, creating a better world, and love making you into the best possible version of yourself.

Best thought-provoking, alternate worlds, yourself as hero and villain science fiction:
* “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch – about our choices changing the future, family vs. career, alternative realities (“every thought we have, ever choice we could possibly make, branches into a new world”), the act of observation determining reality (“what a strange thing to consider imagining a world into being with nothing but words, intention, and desire”), and the idea that identities are fluid and multifaceted.

Best provocative, discussion-generating essay collection about Hawaii:
* “The Value of Hawai’i 2” (2014) edited by Aiko Yamashiro and Noelani Goodyear-Ka’opua – about “everything we value about Hawai‘i,” challenging us to think about: “How can more of us protect and enhance what is precious about Hawai‘i for coming generations?”

Best reaching for success by running like the Flintstones self-help nonfiction:
* “Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life” (2015) by Ron Clark – about sprinting to success, rewarding top performers, and motivating everyone to contribute more.

Best my life is a magnet for weird and funny humorous autobiography:
* “Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things” (2015) by Jenny Lawson – about choosing to be vehemently happy with depression and mental illness, taxidermied raccoons with big grins and jazz hands, and midnight cat rodeos.

Which books have made an impact on your life? Which books comfort you and inspire you?

Influential books of my childhood

August 9, 2016

Happy Book Lovers Day

Some books we read and enjoy in the moment. Some books we read over and over, like comfort food, because they tell us something we need to hear. And some books stick with us for the rest of our lives, even if we never read them again.

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, a day to celebrate readers everywhere, I decided to share 6 influential books from my childhood and youth – and what I learned from them.

* “The Little Princess” (1905) by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Separated from her beloved father, Sara Crewe went from privilege to poverty at an exclusive boarding school. Despite dealing with disagreeable students, bewildered friends, and distrustful animals, and often going hungry, she was always kind, optimistic, and open to wonder. She used her imagination to make her life and the lives of her friends better. It taught me that we cannot choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to adversity.

* “Dragonsong” (1976) and “Dragonsinger” (1977) by Anne McCaffrey. Menolly refused to give up music, despite her parents’ disapproval and a serious injury to her hand, and even left the comfort and safety of her home to keep playing music. It taught me that when you find something you are passionate about, you need to pursue your dream.

* “The Blue Sword” (1982) and “The Hero and the Crown” (1984) by Robin McKinley. Newcomer Angharad “Harry” Crewe and reluctant princess Aerin are both out-of-place and disregarded, but they become warriors who save their people. It taught me that you need inner strength and fortitude as well as physical strength to be a hero.

* “Pawn of Prophecy” (1984) by David Eddings. Garion is a scullery boy whose safe life on a farm is exchanged for a life on the road filled with danger, excitement, and magic. His practical, sheltered upbringing is challenged by events he doesn’t understand and can’t explain. Mister Wolf reveals, “When you get right down to it, nothing – or at least very little – is actually impossible.” It taught me that we don’t know everything we think we do, and almost anything is possible.

* “Dorsai!” (1959) by Gordon R. Dickson and “Dune” (1965) by Frank Herbert. Donal Graeme is a military genius who rises to prominence to face a ruthless interstellar businessman; and Paul Atreides is a psychic nobleman who rises to lead the Fremen of Arrakis against the Emperor. Both are the result of warrior cultures and breeding programs that created a kind of superman. Despite the limited female protagonists, these futuristic science fiction novels taught me that humans have the potential to evolve and become better. However, those gifted people at the forefront of change (enhanced, mutant, Inhuman) can inspire both wonder and fear.

* “Arrows of the Queen” (1987) by Mercedes Lackey. Talia grows up in a society where women are viewed as inferior and women’s choices are limited. Her life changes when is Chosen by a Companion of Valdemar to serve the kingdom. It taught me that honor, responsibility, and hard work are rewarded.

While coming up with this list, I realized that I’ve only read a few of these books as an adult. I’m almost positive that if I were to read these books today, I would focus on different things and take away different meanings than from when I was younger.

There are several books that I absolutely loved, but I never felt the urge to re-read them – like “A Wrinkle in Time” (1962) by Madeline L’Engle, “Over Sea, Under Stone” (1965) by Susan Cooper, and “The Black Cauldron” (1965) by Lloyd Alexander. Some of the books I remember from childhood are not the same when I read through with adult eyes – like “The Secret Garden” (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I think we take away the meanings and values that we need at the time, without worrying about the rest.

Which books influenced your childhood? Do you have “comfort books” that you turn to, or do you rarely read a book more than once?

Get fit with summer reading programs

May 24, 2016

This summer, don’t get left on the beach or in the sidelines. Challenge yourself to the sport of reading with two summer reading programs in Hawaii.

2016 Summer Reading Program

* Children, teens, and adults can get fit with books during the Hawaii State Public Libraries Summer Reading Program, which runs from June 5 through July 16, 2016. Registration begins on May 31. Everyone can read books, fill out a book list, and return to the library to pick up a prize. This year’s theme is all about fitness, and libraries are hosting various events to strengthen our bodies and minds – like the “Get Moving with Ronald McDonald show.

Your brain is like a muscle – exercise it! Reading books can warm-up your imagination, strengthen your memory, build your concentration, and give your problem-solving skills a workout.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading

* Children in grades 1-6 can earn a free book in Barnes and Noble’s “Summer Reading Triathlon.” Between May 17 and September 6, 2016, kids need to read at least three books, fill out a Reading Journal, and choose a book from the book list. To encourage kids to think of reading as a sport, one that takes practice and commitment, the Summer Reading Triathlon asks readers about a book that made you read faster (sprint), the longest book you have read (marathon), the series in which you have read the most books (weight lifting), and a book that made you stretch your imagination (gymnastics). There’s a Barnes and Noble in Honolulu, Oahu and Lahaina, Maui.

Enter the knock-out round with a free printable activity kit that helps kids identify their favorite authors and illustrators, differentiate between fiction and nonfiction books, compare historical or fictional people who have faced challenges, and imagine a new sporting event.

You can even create your own reading triathlon.

  • Read biographies about a famous swimmer like Duke Kahanamoku; a leading cyclist like Lance Armstrong; and a prominent runner like Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith Joyner.
  • Read adventures set in the ocean like Graham Salisbury’s “Calvin Coconut: Man Trip” or Jules Verne’s “Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”; road-trips like Van James’ “Ancient Sites of Oahu” or Bill Bryson’s “The Lost Continent”; and tales of travel like Austin Aslan’s “The Islands at the End of the World” or L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

I challenge all of you to keep your mind and eyes in shape! What will you read this summer?