The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather’s Story

On April 1, 1946, an enormous tsunami wave strikes Hilo, Hawaii, causing death and destruction. Even those islanders who are fortunate to have survived find their lives forever altered. Young Kimo loves his grandfather very much. They go everywhere together, sharing island stories and experiences. But there is one story his grandfather has yet to share and that is the reason behind their yearly pilgrimage to Laupahoehoe Point. Here, in silent remembrance, Grandfather places a flower lei atop a stone monument.

Featured in Volume VI, Issue 1 of WOW Review.

Hawaii

Take a tour of the Aloha State with Patrick and his father. They kayak around the Big Island, drive to Haleakala Crater, visit the paniolos on Parker Ranch, and so much more. Learn historical, natural science, and cultural information as well as some Hawaiian words and fun facts.

Strange Relations

A summer in paradise. That’s all Marne wants. That’s all she can think of when she asks her parents permission to spend the summer in Hawaii with Aunt Carole and her family.

But Marne quickly realizes her visit isn’t going to be just about learning to surf and morning runs along the beach, despite the cute surfer boy she keeps bumping into. For one thing, Aunt Carole isn’t even Aunt Carole anymore—she’s Aunt Chaya, married to a Chasidic rabbi and deeply rooted in her religious community. Nothing could be more foreign to Marne, and fitting into this new culture—and house full of kids—is a challenge. But as she settles into her newfound family’s daily routine, she begins to think about spirituality, identity, and finding a place in the world in a way she never has before.

This rich novel is a window into a different life and gets to the very heart of faith, identity, and family ties.

Name Me Nobody

Fourteen-year-old Emi-Lou Kaya feels like a nobody in her Hawaiian town. Abandoned by her mother at age three, Emi-Lou hasn’t a clue as to who her father might be, and on top of all this, she is overweight. Her only salvation is the strength of the hard-as-nails but loving grandmother who raised her, and the feisty spirit of her best friend Yvonne. It is Yvonne who renames the dynamic duo Von and Louie, and who puts Emi-Lou on a strict weight-loss regimen. But Emi-Lou starts to worry about losing her touchstone when Von begins spending a little too much time with Babes, an older girl from the softball team. Rumors abound that her soul sister is a “butchie,” and when Emi-Lou suspects it’s true, she becomes desperate to get Von back to “normal” and back to her role as best friend.

Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai’i

The mischievous, shape-shifting Pig-Boy gets in trouble with both the King and Pele, the goddess of fire, but always manages to slip away as his grandmother has told him to do.

Duke’s Olympic Feet

Duke Kahanamoku was the twentieth century’s top waterman, and is known as the “father of international surfing.” The first Hawaiian to win an Olympic gold medal, Duke represented the United States in the Olympic Games in 1912, 1920, 1924 and 1932, winning gold, silver and bronze medals. Born in 1890, Duke grew up next to the ocean in Waikîkî. After school, he and his sister and brothers would hit the water. “I was only happy when I was swimming like a fish,” Duke said. Duke and the other beach boys gathered under a hau tree in Waikîkî. They rode the waves at Castles, a prime surf spot, on their sixteen-foot solid wooden surfboards. Years of swimming, surfing and canoe paddling made Duke a fine athlete. He had a strong body, long arms, powerful legs and his hands were said to be as big as buckets. Some claimed he had feet as big as fins and could steer a canoe with his feet alone. Duke knew that he was a very fast swimmer and he trained constantly. He said that God had given him a gift and a whip. “The whip,” he said with a grin, “is to flog myself into getting the most out of the gift.” He felt that, just maybe, he could be a champion and win Olympic gold for Hawai‘i. His chance came August 12, 1911, at Alakea Slip in Honolulu Harbor, when he demolished the world amateur record for the 100-yard freestyle. His excitement was crushed when mainland AAU officials refused to believe his time. “What are you using for stopwatches over there in Hawai‘i?” they asked. “Alarm clocks?” The AAU officials doubted that a virtually untrained swimmer could break a world record. It was up to Duke to prove he could go up against the world’s fastest swimmers and beat them. Along with his athletic accomplishments, Duke is remembered for his concern for others, humility in victory, courage in adversity and good sportsmanship.

Take a closer look at Duke’s Olympic Feet as examined in WOW Review.

Plantation Child and Other Stories

These vividly told tales of plantation life from decades past center around the lives of Marita Kim and her four younger brothers and sisters. The children experience many hardships growing up poor and motherless in a Korean camp in Hawaii, but their stories are full of adventure. In “Joe and the White Dog,” Joe takes Little Sister exploring and loses her… until a mysterious white-haired woman and her friendly dog appear to help. In “The Little People,” fearless six-year-old Puni searches for menehune to grant her wish for a new doll. The stories also provide a poignant look at the family’s daily struggles. In “Plantation Child” we see, through the eyes of Marita, the sacrifices made to pay for a pair of new shoes, the need for thrift and hard work to make ends meet. In “The Pineapple Cannery” we share in Marita’s excitement as she begins a new life working in Honolulu. The last story, “Abuji,” is a tender portrait of the long-widowed father, reminiscing about his youth and his return journey to Korea. Moving from child to child, from story to story, Eve Begley Kiehm brings to life a formative period in the history of Korean Americans in Hawaii.