Archive for the ‘Books’ category

Summer reading challenges 2020

June 23, 2020

It’s time for summer reading challenges! Whether you read books to spark your imagination, increase your knowledge, or learn useful skills, there are books for everyone.


Right now, you can get rewarded for reading by Hawaii public libraries and Barnes and Noble. (I’ve already gotten started with “Smoke Bitten” by Patricia Briggs. You’ll have to catch up.)


* A 1,000 minutes Summer Reading Challenge for all ages. Join the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge with the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS), June 15 to August 31, 2020. Register online at For every 100 minutes of reading you log online, you’ll receive a virtual badge, a downloadable activity, and an entry into a grand prize drawing for four round-trip tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies! Hawaii’s goal is to read for 1,000,000 minutes.

You can also download a printable Reader’s Log and turn it in to your local library by August 31, 2020.


Share your photos and videos of your completed activities by tagging @hsplshigov and #srphawaii2020.


* Summer Reading Challenge for kids in grades 1-6. Just read any eight books and record them in your Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Journal. Then take your completed journal to Barnes and Noble in Honolulu between July 1 and August 31, 2020 to receive a free book from the book list. You can earn your own copy of “Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights” by Malala Yousafzai, “I Survived the Japanese Tsunami” by Lauren Tarshis, or “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle.


What books will you read this summer? Will you beat the 1,000 minute reading challenge?

Best books of 2019

December 24, 2019

Reading books is my favorite hobby, and I make time to read almost every day – and sometimes late into the night.

Last year, I was drawn to books about coping with adversity, leadership, and finding meaning at work. This year, I indulged in books about living in interesting times and hold-on-for-the-wild-ride adventures.

Here are 6 of the best books that I read in 2019:

* “Kingdom of Ash” by Sarah J. Maas immerses us in a world of magic where a queen spins intricate plots to free her people and protect others from slavery. It’s an epic fantasy about refusing to yield; choosing who you will be; fighting for your belief in a better world; and self-sacrifice for the greater good.

* “The Merciful Crow” by Margaret Aven sinks us into a plague-ridden world where an outcast caste bargain to save a prince in exchange for protection. It’s a young adult fantasy about birthright privilege and persecution; longing to live without fear; and doing something better with your life than die.

*  “Rules of Redemption” by TA White catapults us into a future of alien wizards, space travel, and an ex-soldier who is still fighting a hidden war. It’s a science fiction soap opera about making your own path; learning who you really are; and needing to be understood.

*  “Cry Pilot” by Joel Dane launches us into a future where criminals can be redeemed by surviving a life-threatening sacrifice. It’s a thrilling military science fiction novel about atonement (“Debt’s don’t disappear because there’s nobody left to collect them”); acknowledging that hardships make us more brittle, not harder; and the balance of individual independence and political stability.

* “Nameless” by Dean Koontz sucks us into the life of a man with no name, no memories, and no desire to remember his past. It’s a collection of six episodic short thrillers about living with mystery and purpose; confronting the darkness in humankind; and the comfort of not knowing.

* “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (2014) by Atul Gawande is a deeply personal, somber, and honest reflection about the modern experience of mortality. Gawande shares his story as a surgeon and his father’s experience with a spinal cord tumor, reflecting on how old age has changed, American veneration of the independent self, and our shifting mindset away from fixing problems to supporting quality of life.

Which books have kept you reading late into the night? Which books would you recommend?

Happy reading and happy new year!

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?