October 15, 2023, 3:00 AM HST
A new children’s book series published by the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center is aimed at introducing early readers to some of Lāna‘i’s coastal wahi pana (storied places).
The 12-book collection, written by Diane and Shelly Preza, features culturally significant places around the island including Kaiolohia, Kaumālapaʻu, Kaunolū, Keōmoku and Mānele. Books are available in English and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.
“We are always in search of opportunities for keiki to explore their roots,” said Diane Preza, who is also a Lānaʻi Culture & Heritage Center board member. “Connecting personal experiences to books is powerful. The more students learn about and love their home, the more they will care for Lānaʻi. That is our hope.”
The series takes young readers on a remarkable voyage through the beautiful and storied landscapes of Lāna‘i. Each book in the series explores a different place and shares aspects of Lāna‘i’s rich heritage and natural beauty.
“We developed this series so that the island’s keiki grow up with a sense of place and knowledge about these areas and why we should care for them,” said Shelly Preza, who is also the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center’s executive director. “We are proud that these books were developed by the community, for the community, and hope that these readers help our youth form a deep bond with our ‘āina from an early age.”
Books will be available for sale starting Oct. 20 at the Lānaʻi Culture & Heritage Center’s museum and online. The center will donate sets of the books to Lānaʻi High and Elementary School and to select Hawaiian immersion schools in Maui County.
This is the second set of books developed by the culture and heritage center in an effort to create relevant educational resources for Lānaʻi’s youth. The first set debuted in 2021.
For more information about the new book series and Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center, click here.