Posted tagged ‘Hawaii Book and Music Festival’

Talking about teen anxiety and depression

May 8, 2018

I work for a nonprofit mental health counseling center, and I was happy to realize that the Hawaii Book and Music Festival expanded their program to include Wellness in Hawaii. Books and music strengthen our mind and spirit, and it seems natural to include to mental and physical health.

Because my son is entering the teen years, I was drawn to a panel discussion on “Anxiety, Depression, Teenage Suicide.” It was moderated by University of Hawaii professor Maya Soetoro-Ng, who began the discussion by revealing how teen suicide has touched her personally.

There were five panel participants: psychologist and director at Waimanalo Health Center Sid Hermosura; child and adolescent psychiatrist Sonia Patel; author, professor, and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic Jon Kabat-Zinn; psychologist Julie Takashima-Lacasa; and professor Thao Le, who called for a sense of joy and excitement even when talking about serious issues.

Maya began the discussion by asking, “In a time of great connectedness, why are we so lonely?” Aside from genetic reasons, family situations, and financial circumstances, there was a general consensus that screen time and social media contribute to a sense of loneliness and disconnectedness.

With screen time, “[teens] get caught in their heads,” Sonia said, and parents don’t want to upset kids by limiting it. Julie added that screen time is highly associated with depression, and teens who use over five hours of screen time are 71% more likely to be depressed.

We need to teach teens tools to manage social media, Sid urged, because “likes” and number of followers can become tied to self-esteem. Thao added that we can become addicted to immediate responses and “likes,” and social media makes it too easy to compare and judge ourselves against others.

What solutions are out there? asked Maya. We need to teach mindfulness in schools, Jon recommended, “we need to cultivate emotional intelligence.” Julie agreed, saying that we need to “cultivate self-awareness” and teach emotional regulation so that we can make better decisions. “Anxiety and depression are not individual problems, it’s a collective problem,” Thao stated. She advocated aina-based learning, where we can connect to nature and each other.

Sonia offered three everyday suggestions: sleep, meals with family, and less screen time. Sid suggested that primary care physicians and pediatricians can screen for anxiety and depression.

There wasn’t much time for questions from the audience, but a family court judge asked about ways we can address trauma in teens. Sonia said that in her practice, she helps teens identify trauma, separate trauma from their self, re-write the way they respond to danger to make better choices, and learn what triggers will trick your brain into making poor choices.

The panel discussion opened and closed with performances by singer/songwriter PraiseJesus Artis.

I wish we had more time to discuss the programs that are already in place to help teens, and perhaps even hear from young adults who experienced teen anxiety and depression.

On this day, to the sounds of music and the murmur of readers, the conversation was just beginning.


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?

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?

Celebrate books, music, Star Wars, and comics

April 26, 2016

Hawaii Reading 2016

This week, there is a little something for readers, music lovers, Star Wars fanatics, and comic book buffs of all ages. Here are three celebrations you shouldn’t miss:

One of the best ways to learn about Hawaii books and even meet local authors is the Hawaii Book and Music Festival this weekend, April 30 and May 1, on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds in Honolulu. There’s something for book and music lovers of all ages, including a book swap (bring a gently-read book, get a gently-read book).

For readers, there are author talks, panel discussions, and author signings. For music lovers, there are mele and hula performances and even a ‘ukulele kanikapila. For children, there are entertainers, storytelling, and a keiki fun zone. My son loved singing along with PBS Kids’ Mr. Steve, who is back again this year.

Say “May the Fourth” out loud and you’ll understand why Star Wars fans celebrate May 4 with such zeal. You can jump into the spirit of Star Wars just by wishing someone a Happy May the Fourth Day. Get into a lightsaber fight with pool noodles, wrapping paper tubes, or even golf club bag tubes. I love the idea of having a Star Wars movie marathon party, costumes optional.

Whether you’re looking for Star Wars adventures (there’s a whole expanded universe out there), humor (I recommend Jeffrey Brown’s “Darth Vader and Son”), Shakespeare (Ian Doescher’s “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope” is excellent), or coloring books (relax with Art Therapy’s “Art of Coloring Star Wars: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity and Relaxation”), there’s a book for you.

Venture into the bright and dark world of comic books and graphic novels with Free Comic Book Day on May 7. Just show your valid HSPLS card at a participating Hawaii State Public Library and receive a free comic book. Choose from the Avengers, Pokemon, Spongebob, Strawberry Shortcake, and more.  (I have my eye on Serenity or Captain America). Some libraries may even surprise you with a visit by costumed characters from the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion Hawaii, and Costumers Guild of Hawaii.

On Oahu, visit public libraries in Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kaulua, Kalihi-Palama, Kapolei, Manoa, McCully-Moiliili, Mililani, Salt Lake, Waianae, Waikiki-Kapahulu, Waimanalo, and Waipahu. On Hawaii Island, visit public libraries in Hilo, Kailua-Kona, and Thelma Parker Memorial. On Kauai, visit the public library in Princeville. On Lanai, stop by the Lanai Public and School Library booth at the Saturday Market in Dole Park. On Maui, visit public libraries in Kahului, Kihei, Lahaina, and Makawao.

If you could visit a world or time from a book, movie, or comic book, where would you go? Would you rather read a book first, and then watch the film adaptation; or watch the movie first?

Comics, books, music, and storytelling in Hawaii

April 29, 2014

Coming up is an awesome weekend of comics, books, music, and storytelling in Hawaii!

Free Comic Book Day 2014

* Indulge your love of comic books! Comic books encourage a love of reading, spur our imaginations, feed our appreciation for art, and teach us values – like doing the right thing and “With great power comes great responsibility.” And they’re fun to read!

On May 3, you can get a free special edition comic book for yourself or a friend, courtesy of Free Comic Book Day. Readers can choose from titles such as “Hello Kitty Surprise,” “Transformers vs. G.I. Joe,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Public libraries across the state will give away free comic books, but you must have a Hawaii Library card (free for Hawaii residents and military). On Oahu, stop by a public library in Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kailua, Kalihi-Palama, Kapolei, McCully-Moiliili, Mililani, Salt Lake-Moanalua, Waikiki-Kapahulu, Waimanalo, or Waipahu. Be on the lookout for Star Wars costumed characters, who will show up at selected libraries. On the Big Island, check out the public libraries in Hilo and at Thelma Parker Memorial. On Kauai, stop by the Princeville Public Library. On Maui, public libraries in Kihei and Lahaina are participating.

Hawaii Book and Music Festival

* Immerse yourself in books, music, and storytelling! Books and music are doorways to free our minds, as Morpheus might say. They can teach us about history and different cultures, show us different points of view, expand our vocabulary, develop reasoning skills, and improve our writing. Music can improve our mood, help us with visualization, and reduce our stress.

On May 3 and 4, spend the day at the 9th Annual Hawaii Book and Music Festival, on the Civic Grounds outside Honolulu Hale. Watch short movies, listen to authors reading their works and musicians performing songs, and attend panel discussions about local issues. Bring some gently-used books to exchange in the Book Swap, and leave with new-to-you books.

Kids can take pictures with costumed characters like The Cat in the Hat and Curious George; work off their excitement on jumpers and keiki rides; listen to kids reading poetry and prose; and bring in their books to swap with others.

What books and comics are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors?