Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis, illustrated by Kenard Pak

Published by Neal Porter Books

Ohana Means Family: Loomis, Ilima, Pak, Kenard: 9780823443260 ...

Summary:  In a “This is the house that Jack built” cumulative style, the author recounts the steps necessary to get the poi for the family’s (‘ohana’s) lu’au.  The poi comes from the kalo plant, which is the starting point for the verse.  From there, the narrative moves outward to the mud that the plant grows in, the “land that has never been sold”, the stream that waters it, the sun, and the wind.  The final lines include the ‘ohana that gives thanks for all of the elements that have created the food for their lu’au.  Includes notes about kalo, poi, and ‘ohana as well as a glossary.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  A fascinating introduction to native Hawaiian culture.  The illustrations are spectacular and will make you want to be on the beach eating poi with this ‘ohana.  The back matter helps readers understand what is going on in the story.

Cons:  Since I’m sure many readers have as little knowledge of Hawaiian culture as I do, it would have been helpful to have some explanation on each page of what was going on, rather than having it all at the end.

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